10. The Principles of Prayer to God

1. The true significance of prayer to God is to understand the truth and attain obedience to God and worship of God. You must not, under any circumstances, engage in religious ceremony.

2. You must draw upon your practical difficulties and problems when praying to God. You must not depart from reality and speak empty words, or talk of letters and doctrines.

3. You must frequently pray to God about the problems of performing your duty and entering into life, seeking to understand the truth and enter reality.

4. There must be reverence for God in your prayers, and you must be reasonable. You may not make demands of God, coerce God, or take advantage of God, much less may you make trades with God.

Relevant Words of God:

Prayer is not a case of going through the formalities, or following procedure, or reciting the words of God, which is to say, prayer does not mean parroting words and copying others. In prayer, you must give your heart to God, sharing the words in your heart with God so that you may be touched by God. If your prayers are to be effective, then they must be based on your reading of God’s words. Only by praying amid God’s words will you be able to receive more enlightenment and illumination. A true prayer is shown by having a heart that yearns for the requirements made by God, and being willing to fulfill these requirements; you will be able to hate all that God hates, upon the basis of which you will have knowledge, and will know and be clear about the truths explained by God. Having the resolution, and faith, and knowledge, and a path by which to practice after praying—only this is truly praying, and only prayer such as this can be effective. Yet prayer must be built upon the foundation of enjoying God’s words and communing with God in His words, your heart being able to seek God and being at peace before God. Such prayer has already reached the point of true communion with God.

from “Concerning the Practice of Prayer” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

When praying one can quiet one’s heart before God, and through prayer one can seek for enlightenment by the Holy Spirit, know God’s words, and can understand the will of God. … one’s prayer is not for the purpose of saying some nice words, or to bawl before God to express one’s debt, but rather it is to practice exercising one’s spirit, to quiet one’s heart before God, to practice searching for guidance in all things, to make one’s heart a heart that is drawn toward new light every day, to neither be passive nor lazy, and to enter onto the right track of practicing God’s words. Currently most people are focused on methods, and are not trying to pursue truth to achieve progress in life; this is where people deviate.

from “Regarding a Normal Spiritual Life” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

The lowest standard that God requires of people is that they be able to open their hearts to Him. If man gives his true heart to God and says what is really within his heart to God, then God is willing to work in man; God does not want the twisted heart of man, but his pure and honest heart. If man does not truly speak his heart to God, then God does not touch man’s heart, or work within him. Thus, the most crucial thing about praying is to speak the words of your true heart to God, telling God of your flaws or rebellious disposition and completely opening yourself up to God. Only then will God be interested in your prayers; if not, then God will hide His face from you.

from “Concerning the Practice of Prayer” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

People have all experienced this; things that come upon in a way they don’t want are especially difficult to bear; when they are uncomfortable, they will talk to someone and after a while, they won’t feel uncomfortable. Avoiding discomfort doesn’t resolve their condition. Sometimes when difficulties come upon them at work, they feel pressured, and when pruning and dealing comes upon them, they feel especially pressured…. During these discomforts how many times did they come to God’s presence to pray? Each time they made adjustments by themselves and turned around in a muddleheaded way. Therefore, people believe in God but God is not in their hearts. They are all blindly doing things without value, like a beggar who picks a little bit of this and a little bit of that out from the garbage can, and fills his bag; but it is worthless and is done completely blindly. People frequently deviate from the correct path, they walk away from it from time to time. We can see people’s nature from this. The nature of people is to betray. They have no God after they work for some time. They even think: “I believe in God; how do I not have God? Am I not working for God?” Your heart does not have God, you distance yourself from God and betray Him in whatever you do. Prayer is a most profound thing; if you go about serving without even praying, then you are serving in vain. Your condition will become more abnormal and you will have less results. Prayer is not about how good your words are while you pray, you only need to speak the words of your heart and speak honestly according to your difficulties. Speak from the perspective of being a part of the creation and from the perspective of submission: “Oh God, You know that my heart is too hard. Oh God, lead me in this matter; You know I have weaknesses, I am too lacking and am unsuitable for You to use. I am rebellious and interrupt Your work when I do things; my actions do not conform with Your will. I ask You to do Your own work and we will only cooperate….” If you cannot say these words, then you are finished. Some people think: “When I pray I must discern whether the prayer is reasonable or not; it is impossible to pray.” This is not a problem. Practice for a time and you will get it. Pray and you will know if there are words that are not appropriate. When people pray, their relationship with God is the most direct relationship. The relationship between people and God becomes the most intimate during prayer. Can you usually kneel and pray right away when you are doing something? You can’t. People’s relationship with God is the closest when they kneel and pray.

from “The Significance and Practice of Prayer” in Records of Christ’s Talks

As someone who serves before God, you cannot be without prayers. If you truly see fellowship with God as something that is meaningful and valuable, could you forsake prayer? No one can be without communion with God. Without prayer, you live in the flesh, you live in the bondage of Satan; without true prayer, you live under the influence of darkness. I hope that the brothers and sisters are able to truly pray each and every day. This is not adherence to doctrine, however, but an effect that must be achieved. Are you willing to forgo a little sleep and gratification, saying morning prayers at dawn and then enjoying the words of God? If you pray and eat and drink the words of God, in this way, with a pure heart, then you will be more accepted by God. If you do every day, practicing giving your heart to God each day and communing with God, then your knowledge of God is sure to increase, and you will be better able to grasp God’s will. You should say: “O God! I wish to fulfill my duty. In order that You may be glorified in us, and may enjoy the testimony in us, this group of people, I can but devote my entire being to You. I beg You to work within us, so that I can truly love and satisfy You, and make You the objective that I pursue.” When you are possessed of this burden, God will surely make you perfect; you should not only pray for the sake of yourself, but also for the sake of doing the will of God, and for the sake of loving Him. Such is the truest kind of prayer. Do you pray in order to do the will of God?

from “Concerning the Practice of Prayer” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Prayer is not a ceremony, there is a lot of significance in it. What can we see from people’s prayers? People are directly serving God. If you look at this as a ceremony, then you will certainly not serve God well. It can be said that if your prayers are not earnest or sincere, then God will not count you, He will ignore you. If you are ignored, will you have the Holy Spirit working in you? Therefore, you are discouraged in doing your work. From now on, without prayer, you can’t work. It is prayer that brings work and prayer that brings service. You are a leader and a person who serves God, but you have never devoted yourself to prayer and have never been serious in your prayers. In serving this way, you will fail. … If you come to the presence of God often and pray often, then it proves that you take God seriously. If you frequently do work yourself and you frequently don’t pray, you frequently do this and that behind His back, then you are not serving God, but rather you are just doing your own business. Are you not condemned in doing your own business? From the outside looking in, it doesn’t seem like you have done anything disturbing, and it seems like you have not blasphemed, but you are doing your own thing. Are you not interrupting? Right? Even though it looks like you are not interrupting from the outside, you are resisting God in nature.

from “The Significance and Practice of Prayer” in Records of Christ’s Talks

When fulfilling your duty or working on something, you should always think: How should I fulfill this duty? What is God’s intention? Through matters, you draw close to God, and through drawing close to God, you seek the principles and truths to do things, you seek God’s will from within and do not leave God in all that you do. This is a person who truly believes in God. … Actually, people are not really seeking God and praying to God about this. They are not striving to do it well to satisfy God’s will, nor striving to do it well according to His requirements. They do not have this true situation, and they don’t have such desire. This is the greatest error people make in their practice, because you believe in God, but God is not in your heart. How is this not a sin? How is this not deceiving yourself? What effect will believing this way have? Where is the practical significance in believing in God?


… No matter what you are doing, no matter how big the matter is, and regardless of whether you are fulfilling your duty in God’s family, or whether it is your private matter, you must consider whether this matter conforms with God’s will, whether this matter is something a person with humanity should do, and whether or not what you are doing would make God happy. You need to think about these things. If you do this, then you are a person who seeks the truth and a person who truly believes in God. If you devoutly treat every matter and every truth this way, then you will be able to transform your disposition.

from “Seeking God’s Will and Putting Truth Into Practice to the Greatest Extent Possible” in Records of Christ’s Talks

You seldom have a true prayer, and some of you even don’t know how to pray; in fact, prayer is mainly about speaking what is in your heart, just like a normal conversation. However, some people take the wrong position when they pray, and regardless of whether it conforms with God’s will or not, they demand God to bestow what they ask for upon them. As a result, the more they pray the duller it becomes. When praying, whatever your heart asks for, desires, and requests, or when you wish to take care of some matters that you don’t fully understand you ask God for wisdom, strength, or enlightenment, you must be reasonable in the way you speak. If you are unreasonable, and you kneel and say: “God, give me power and let me see my nature; I ask You to do it. Or, I ask You to give me this or that, I ask You to let me be like this or like that,” this word “ask” carries an element of force, and is like exerting pressure on God to make Him do it. Moreover, you predetermine your own matters. Even though you pray this way, the Holy Spirit sees it as: Since you have already predetermined it yourself, and you want to do it that way, what will be the outcome of this kind of prayer? You should seek and submit in your prayers; for example, if a matter came upon you that you didn’t know how to handle, then you say: “Oh God! This matter has come upon me, and I don’t know how to handle it. I am willing to satisfy You in this matter, I am willing to seek You, I desire for Your will to come to pass, I desire to do according to Your intentions, and not according to my own. You know that the intentions of man are in violation of Your will; they resist You and do not conform with truth. I only desire to do according to Your intentions. I ask You to enlighten me and guide me in this matter, so that I won’t offend You….” This kind of tone of voice in prayer is appropriate. If you merely say: “Oh God, I ask You to do this or that; help me and guide me; prepare a suitable environment and suitable people for me, so that I can do well in my work…,” when this kind of prayer is over, you still don’t know what God’s will is, because you are trying to make God do things according to your intentions.

Now you need to grasp whether the things you say in your prayers are reasonable or not. Regardless of whether you are foolish or whether you are praying intentionally this way, if your prayers are not reasonable, then the Holy Spirit won’t work in you. Therefore, when you pray, the words you say must be reasonable, and your tone must be appropriate: “Oh God! You know my weaknesses and You know my rebelliousness. I only ask You to give me power, so I can withstand the tests of this environment. However, be it according to Your will. I am only asking this and I don’t know what Your will is, but I desire for Your will to be done; regardless of whether You use me in service or make me serve as a foil, I am willing either way. However, I ask You for strength and wisdom to allow me to satisfy You in this matter. I am only willing to submit to Your arrangements….” After you pray this way, you will feel especially steadfast. If you merely are persistent in asking and asking, then when you have finished asking it will be nothing more than a bunch of empty words, because you have already predetermined your intentions. When you kneel to pray, you should say something like: “Oh God! You know my weaknesses and You know my conditions. I ask You to enlighten me in this matter and let me understand Your will. I only desire to submit to all of Your arrangements and my heart desires to submit to You….” If you pray like this, then the Holy Spirit will move you and if the direction of your prayer is not right, then it will become dull and dry, and the Holy Spirit will not move you; you are merely murmuring, silently praying, or closing your eyes and saying a few words at will, which is simply perfunctoriness. If you are perfunctory, will the Holy Spirit work? People who come to God’s presence must all behave properly and show piety. Look at the priests’ sacrifices during the Age of Law, they were all kneeling. Prayer is not that simple of a thing. People come before God, yet they are still defiant and unrestrained, and want to lie down on their bed and close their eyes. This is unacceptable! I don’t say these things to require people to follow some specific rules; at the very minimum, their hearts must turn to God and they must have an attitude of piety in God’s presence.

Your prayers lack reason far too often; they all have this tone of voice: “Oh God! Since You have let me be a leader, You have to make everything I do be appropriate so that Your work won’t be interrupted and the interests of God’s family won’t suffer losses. You must make me do things this way….” Is this necessary? This prayer is not reasonable! Can God work in you when you come into God’s presence and pray unreasonably like this? If you came into the presence of Christ and spoke to Me without reason, would I listen? You would be kicked out! Isn’t it the same to be in the presence of the Spirit and in the presence of Christ? When you come to the presence of God to pray, you must think about how to speak reasonably and think about what to say to be able to turn your inner condition into piety. Humble yourself, then say a prayer and you will be anointed. … Look at the prayer of Jesus (mentioning the prayer of Jesus is not to make people take the same angle and position as Him), He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane: “If it be possible….” That is, “if it is possible.” It happens through consultation and not through saying “I ask You.” He was keeping a submissive heart in His prayer, and in His submissive state, He prayed: “If it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as you will.” He still prayed like this the second time, and the third time He prayed: “May God’s will be done.” He grasped the will of God the Father, saying: “May Your will be done.” He was able to completely submit without choosing Himself in the slightest degree. He said, “If it be possible, let this cup pass from me.” What does that mean? It is because of the thought of bleeding on the cross to His last dying breath and the great pain! This involved death and was said under the premise that He had still not completely grasped the will of God the Father. Therefore, He was very submissive since He was able to pray that way at the thought of the pain. His prayer was normal, He didn’t pray to strike bargains nor to say it had to be removed, but rather it was to seek God’s intentions in a situation that He didn’t understand. The first time He prayed, He didn’t understand and said: “If it be possible … but as You will.” He prayed to God in a state of submissiveness. The second time, He prayed in like manner. In total, He prayed three times (of course these three prayers did not merely happen in three days), and in His final prayer, He completely understood God’s intentions. Afterward, He didn’t ask for anything. In His first two prayers, He sought, and in seeking, He was still in a state of submissiveness. However, people don’t pray like that. They always say, “God, I ask You to do this and that and ask You to lead me in this and that, and I ask You to prepare conditions for me….” Perhaps He won’t prepare suitable conditions for you and will let you suffer hardships. If people always said, “God, I ask You to make preparations for me and give me power,” the prayer would be so unreasonable! You must have reason when you pray, and you must pray under the premise of submissiveness. Don’t decide. Before you pray, you are deciding: I must ask God and tell God what to do. This kind of prayer is so unreasonable. Often times, the Spirit does not listen to people’s prayers at all, therefore, their prayers are dull.

from “The Significance and Practice of Prayer” in Records of Christ’s Talks

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