8. The Principles of Praying to God and Worshiping Him
(1) When one gains the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit during prayer, they should thank and praise God. When enjoying the work of the Holy Spirit, they must lie prostrate and worship God;
(2) Read God’s words often. When one understands the truth and sees God’s love and blessings, they should offer thanks and praise to Him. This is true worship of God;
(3) When one faced with trials and tribulations does not complain, but stands firm in their testimony, this is a result of God’s protection, and they should offer thanks and praise to Him;
(4) When, in undergoing God’s judgment and chastisement, one comes to have knowledge of their own corrupt essence and to see God’s righteousness and holiness, they should worship God.
Relevant Words of God:
To use your heart and honesty to worship God, you must have a heart that is quiet and sincere; in the deepest recesses of your heart, you must know to seek God’s will and the truth, and you must contemplate how to do your duty well, contemplating which parts of your duty you do not yet understand and how to do your duty better. Only by thinking of these things often in your heart will you be able to gain the truth. If these things are not what you contemplate often in your heart, and your heart is filled instead with things of the mind or external things, occupied with such things that have nothing to do with using your heart and honesty to worship God—nothing whatsoever to do with it—are you then able to gain the truth? Do you have a relationship with God?
Excerpted from “Only by Being Honest Can One Live Out a True Human Likeness” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
What is true prayer? It is telling God what is in your heart, communing with God as you grasp His will, communicating with God through His words, feeling especially close to God, sensing He is there before you, and believing you have something to say to Him. Your heart feels filled with light and you feel how lovable God is. You feel especially inspired, and listening to you brings gratification to your brothers and sisters. They will feel that the words you speak are the words within their hearts, the words they wish to say, as though your words were a substitute for their own. This is what true prayer is. After you have engaged in true prayer, your heart will be at peace and will know gratification. The strength to love God can rise up, and you will feel that there is nothing of greater value or significance in life than loving God. All this proves that your prayers have been effective.
Excerpted from “Concerning the Practice of Prayer” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Prayer is not a case of just going through the motions, following procedure, or reciting the words of God. That is to say, praying is not parroting certain words and it is not imitating others. In prayer, one must reach the state where one’s heart can be given to God, laying open one’s heart so that it may be moved by God. If prayer is to be effective, then it must be based on the reading of God’s words. Only by praying from within God’s words can one receive greater enlightenment and illumination. The manifestations of a true prayer are: Having a heart that yearns for all that God asks, and moreover desires to accomplish what He demands; detesting that which God detests and then, building on this foundation, gaining some understanding of it, and having some knowledge and clarity regarding the truths God expounds. Where there is resolution, faith, knowledge, and a path of practice following prayer, only then can it be called true prayer, and only this type of prayer can be effective. Yet prayer must be built upon the enjoyment of God’s words, it must be established on the foundation of communing with God in His words, and the heart must be able to seek God and become quiet before Him. Prayer of this kind has already entered the stage of true communion with God.
Excerpted from “Concerning the Practice of Prayer” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
If you know God, understand Him, and are able to comprehend some of His will, then you can truly believe in Him, truly submit to Him, truly love Him, and truly worship Him. If you do not understand these things, then you are just a follower who runs along and goes with the flow. That cannot be called true submission or true worship. How does true worship come about? Without exception, all who genuinely know God worship and revere Him whenever they see Him; they are all compelled to bow down and worship Him. At present, while God incarnate is at work, the more understanding people have of His disposition and of what He has and is, the more they will treasure these things and the more they will revere Him. Generally, the less understanding people have, the more careless they are, and so they treat God as human. If people really knew and saw God, they would tremble with fear. “He that comes after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear”—why did John say this? Though deep down he did not have a very profound understanding, he knew that God is awe-inspiring. How many people these days are capable of revering God? If they do not know His disposition, then how can they revere God? People neither know Christ’s essence nor understand God’s disposition, much less are they able to truly worship God. If they see only the ordinary and normal outward appearance of Christ, yet do not know His essence, then it is easy for them to treat Christ as just an ordinary man. They may adopt an irreverent attitude toward Him and can cheat Him, resist Him, disobey Him, and cast judgment on Him. They can be self-righteous and not take His words seriously; they can even give rise to notions, condemnations, and blasphemy against God. To resolve these issues, one must know Christ’s essence and divinity. This is the main aspect of knowing God; it is what everyone who believes in the practical God must enter and achieve.
Excerpted from “How to Know God Incarnate” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
Although Job had never seen God or heard the words of God with his own ears, God had a place in Job’s heart. What was Job’s attitude toward God? It was, as previously referred to, “blessed be the name of Jehovah.” His blessing of God’s name was unconditional, irrespective of context, and bound to no reason. We see that Job had given his heart to God, allowing it to be controlled by God; all that he thought, all that he decided, and all that he planned in his heart was laid open to God and not closed off from God. His heart did not stand in opposition to God, and he had never asked God to do anything for him or give him anything, and he did not harbor extravagant desires that he would gain anything from his worship of God. Job did not talk of trades with God, and made no requests or demands of God. His praising of God’s name was because of the great power and authority of God in ruling all things, and it was not dependent on whether he gained blessings or was struck by disaster. He believed that regardless of whether God blesses people or brings disaster upon them, God’s power and authority will not change, and thus, regardless of a person’s circumstances, God’s name should be praised. That man is blessed by God is because of God’s sovereignty, and when disaster befalls man, so, too, it is because of God’s sovereignty. God’s power and authority rule over and arrange everything about man; the vagaries of man’s fortune are the manifestation of God’s power and authority, and regardless of one’s viewpoint, God’s name should be praised. This is what Job experienced and came to know during the years of his life.
Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
When he was being chastised by God, Peter prayed, “O God! My flesh is disobedient, and You chastise me and judge me. I rejoice in Your chastisement and judgment, and even if You do not want me, in Your judgment I behold Your holy and righteous disposition. When You judge me, so that others may behold Your righteous disposition in Your judgment, I feel content. If it can express Your disposition and allow Your righteous disposition to be seen by all creatures, and if it can make my love for You more pure, that I can attain the likeness of one who is righteous, then Your judgment is good, for such is Your gracious will. I know that there is still much in me that is rebellious, and that I am still not fit to come before You. I wish for You to judge me even more, whether through a hostile environment or great tribulations; no matter what You do, to me it is precious. Your love is so profound, and I am willing to lay myself at Your mercy without the slightest complaint.” This is Peter’s knowledge after he experienced the work of God, and it is also a testimony to his love of God. … Near the end of his life, after he had been made perfect, Peter said, “O God! If I were to live a few more years, I would wish to achieve a purer and deeper love of You.” When he was about to be nailed to the cross, in his heart he prayed, “O God! Your time has now arrived; the time You prepared for me has arrived. I must be crucified for You, I must bear this testimony to You, and I hope that my love can satisfy Your requirements, and that it can become purer. Today, to be able to die for You, and be nailed to the cross for You, is comforting and reassuring to me, for nothing is more gratifying to me than to be able to be crucified for You and satisfy Your wishes, and to be able to give myself to You, to offer up my life to You. O God! You are so lovely! Were You to allow me to live, I would be even more willing to love You. As long as I am alive, I will love You. I wish to love You more deeply. You judge me, and chastise me, and try me because I am not righteous, because I have sinned. And Your righteous disposition becomes more apparent to me. This is a blessing to me, for I am able to love You more deeply, and I am willing to love You in this way even if You do not love me. I am willing to behold Your righteous disposition, for this makes me more able to live out a life of meaning. I feel that my life now is more meaningful, for I am crucified for Your sake, and it is meaningful to die for You. Yet still I do not feel satisfied, for I know too little of You, I know that I cannot completely fulfill Your wishes, and have repaid You too little. In my life, I have been incapable of returning my entirety to You; I am far from that. As I look back at this moment, I feel so indebted to You, and I have but this moment to make up for all of my mistakes and all the love that I have not repaid You.”
Excerpted from “The Experiences of Peter: His Knowledge of Chastisement and Judgment” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
After years have passed, man has become weather-beaten, having experienced the hardship of refinement and chastisement. Although man has lost the “glory” and “romance” of times past, he has, without knowing it, come to understand the principles of human conduct, and has come to appreciate God’s years of devotion to saving mankind. Man slowly begins to loathe his own barbarousness. He begins to hate how feral he is, all of his misunderstandings toward God, and the unreasonable demands he has made of Him. The clock cannot be turned back. Past events become regretful memories of man, and the words and love of God become the driving force in man’s new life. Man’s wounds heal day by day, his strength returns, and he stands up and looks upon the face of the Almighty … only to discover that He has always been at my side, and that His smile and His beautiful countenance are still so stirring. His heart still holds concern for the mankind He created, and His hands are still as warm and powerful as they were in the beginning. It is as if man returned to the Garden of Eden, yet this time man no longer listens to the enticements of the serpent and no longer turns away from the face of Jehovah. Man kneels before God, looks up at God’s smiling face, and offers his most precious sacrifice—Oh! My Lord, my God!
Excerpted from “Man Can Only Be Saved Amidst God’s Management” in The Word Appears in the Flesh