Taken from “The Work of Prayer”
By Dr. Sam Wolfe
The apostle Paul makes a distinction in the several aspects of prayer. It may not be clear to the casual reader of Scriptures, but to those who have given themselves to a life of more serious prayer the distinction is made obvious by the Holy Spirit. I am convinced of the wisdom of learning God’s purpose for the various kinds of prayer so that we may be led into the work of prayer God has for us. In I Timothy 1:1-2, Paul admonished Timothy, the young pastor of the Church at Ephesus:
“I exhort therefore, that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, For kings and all who are in authority.”
Here, Paul commissions Timothy to teach the Ephesian Church the primacy and purpose of prayer. We find in Paul’s exhortation two classifications of prayer: General Prayer and Objective Prayer. The general category is comprised of prayers, supplications and thanksgiving. Prayer and supplication include making petitions for personal needs. Thanksgiving, of course, is the expression of gratitude. Intercession is the objective form of prayer in which we pray for others or for particular concerns that need to be addressed.
Now the question arises, “What is my role in carrying out God’s purpose in prayer?” Although we should never minimize the importance of general prayer, that is the extent of the praying of most people who pray. There is a great need for objective prayer. Many Christians pray generally, but objective prayer is lacking today. The lack of the work of prayer compels us to resort to human means.
I think the reason Christians don’t pray objectively lies in their limited concept of prayer—they view it as only a devotional activity or personal worship.
When will there be a spiritual awakening in your area in which the unsaved are brought to an awareness of their sinful and lost state? When will your unsaved loved ones be brought to faith in Christ? When will the weak and non-committed Christians in your family or acquaintance begin to grow toward spiritual maturity? When will the work of Satan be rendered inoperative in the lives of those you love and in your church? When will true revival come to your church and community? These are the objectives for which God would have you pray.
It is clear in the Bible that prayer is God’s appointed means of getting His work done. Therefore, we must understand that whatever the burden of need, whether it be the salvation of the lost, the spiritual development of the saved, the subjugation of Satan or the restoration of power and compassion to the church—we must resort to prayer. When God determines to do a work, large or small, He sets His people to praying for what He wants accomplished.
It could be that your church and community are yet to see what God will do through a prayer worker who will cooperate with our intercessor within, the precious Holy Spirit, and our intercessor in Heaven, our wonderful Savior and Lord, through intentional prayer. You don’t really have any idea what God can and will do in answer to your prayer
Now let me remind you that prayer did not originate with man, it originated with God. It is a divine plan, not a human plan. It is a supernatural way, not a natural means. It is by the Holy Spirit, not by the flesh. Therefore, we must understand and comply with the ways of God that are revealed to us by the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures. No program or plan, however clever, can make up for the lack of prayer. No amount of general prayer can make up for objective prayer—for as you pray for definite objectives, God works to accomplish them.
Prayer is not supplemental to the ministry of the church—it is the foremost and essential work of the church. By means of prayer doors of opportunity are opened to us and through those doors we are drawn and led into what God is doing—the activity of His throne in Heaven.
Therefore, my Christian brother, do not be content to engage in a devotional activity only—get beyond that and give yourself to God as a Prayer Worker and engage in the Work of Prayer. Pray objectively for what God wants to accomplish through your praying.
You may order Dr. Sam Wolfe’s book: The Deeper Secrets of Prayer at $10.00 per copy plus $2.50 for postage. Order from: Evangel Publications / 129 Kingswood Dr. / Huntsville, AL 35806