8. Why must people who believe in God pray, gather, and read God’s word to attain new life?
The Answer from God’s Word:
Prayer is one of the ways in which man cooperates with God, it is a means by which man calls upon God, and it is the process by which man is touched by God’s Spirit. It can be said that those who are without prayer are dead ones without spirit, proof that they lack the faculties to be touched by God. Without prayer, they are unable to attain a normal spiritual life, much less are they able to follow the work of the Holy Spirit; without prayer, they sever their relationship with God, and are incapable of receiving God’s approval. Being someone who believes in God, the more you pray, the more you are touched by God. Such people have greater resolution and are more able to receive the latest enlightenment from God; as a result, only people like this can be made perfect as soon as possible by the Holy Spirit.
from “Concerning the Practice of Prayer” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The purpose of prayer is so that people can come into the presence of God and receive the things God intends to give them. If you frequently pray and frequently come into God’s presence, then you will frequently fellowship with God and have a proper relationship with God, and you will always be moved by Him, always receive His provisions; and therefore you will be transformed, your conditions will continually improve and will not regress. Especially when brothers and sisters join together in prayer. When the prayer is over, there is an exceptionally large amount of energy, everyone’s face is full of perspiration and they feel they gain a lot of things. In fact, after a few days of being together they haven’t communicated much, it was prayer that aroused their energy, and they wish that they could abandon their families and the world all at once, they wish that they could give up everything, all except for God. You see that their energy is so great. The Holy Spirit works to give people this power and people will never fully enjoy it! If you don’t rely on this power, harden your heart and stiffen your neck; or if you rely on your own willpower and aspirations, then where can you go? You won’t get far before you trip and fall, and you will not have that power as you go. People must maintain contact with God from beginning to end, but people get rid of God as they go. God is God, people are people, and they go their separate ways. God speaks His word and people walk their own paths. They and God are on two paths. When people have no strength in their belief, they come to God and pray and say a few words to get some strength. After they have some strength, they run away. After running for some time, they run out of strength, and go back to God and ask Him for a little more strength. People are like this and they can’t hold on for a very long time. When people leave God, then they have no path.
… People don’t read God’s word and they never connect with the things of spiritual life. They don’t have a grasp on their own conditions. Without praying and without the church life, it is impossible to grasp the condition of spiritual life. Do you feel like this? To believe in God, it is necessary to pray. Without praying, then you cannot have the likeness of believing in God.
from “The Significance and Practice of Prayer” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Though I may have finished speaking My word, people still don’t completely understand, and this is because they are lacking in quality. This problem can be resolved through the church life and through fellowshiping with each other.
from “Practice (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Some people, seeing that God is always speaking, become tired of His words and think that it is of no consequence whether or not they read His words. That is not a normal state. They lack a heart that thirsts to enter into reality, and such men neither thirst for nor place importance on being perfected. Whenever you find you do not thirst for the word of God, it shows that you are not in a normal state. … This is why you must eat and drink of the word of God at all times, whether you are busy or not, whether the circumstances are adverse or not, and whether you are being tried or not. All in all, the word of God is the foundation of man’s existence. No one can turn away from His word but must eat of His word as they do the three meals of the day. Can being perfected and gained by God be a simple matter? Whether or not you understand at present, and whether or not you have insight into the work of God, you must eat and drink of the word of God as much as possible. This is entering in a proactive way. After reading the word of God, hasten to put into practice what you can enter into, setting aside for the moment what you cannot. … All those who place no importance on the word of God and always bear a different kind of attitude toward His word, in their befuddlement thinking it a matter of indifference whether they read His word or not, are those who do not possess reality. Neither the Holy Spirit’s work nor His enlightenment can be seen in such a person. People like this are merely coasting along, pretenders without true qualifications, like Mr. Nanguo of the parable.[a]
… Since you do believe in God, then you must eat and drink of His word, experience His word, and live out His word. Only this can be called belief in God! If you say you believe in God with your mouth and yet are unable to speak out any of His words or put them into practice, this is not called believing in God. Rather, it is “seeking bread to satisfy hunger.” Speaking only of trivial testimonies, useless things, and superficial matters, without possessing even the slightest bit of reality: these do not constitute belief in God, and you have simply not grasped the right way of believing in God. Why must you eat and drink as much as possible of God’s words? If you do not eat and drink of His words but seek only to ascend to heaven, is that believing in God? What is the first step one who believes in God should take? By what path does God perfect man? Can you be perfected without eating and drinking of the word of God? Can you be considered a person of the kingdom without the word of God to serve as your reality? What exactly does belief in God mean? Believers in God should, at the very least, have good behavior on the outside; most important of all is to be possessed of the word of God. No matter what, you can never turn away from His word. Knowing God and fulfilling His will are all achieved through His word. In future, every nation, denomination, religion, and sector will be conquered through the word. God will speak directly, and all people will hold the word of God in their hands; by means of this, humanity will be perfected. Within and without, the word of God pervades throughout: Humanity will speak God’s word with their mouths, practice in accordance with God’s word, and keep the word of God within, remaining steeped in God’s word both inside and out. Thus will humanity be perfected. Those who fulfill the will of God and are able to bear witness to Him, these are the people who possess the word of God as their reality.
Entering into the Age of Word, that is, the Age of Millennial Kingdom, is the work that is being completed now. From now on, practice engaging in fellowship about the word of God. Only by means of eating and drinking as well as experiencing the word of God will you be able to manifest the word of God. Only through your words of experience can others be persuaded by you. If you do not have the word of God, no one will be convinced! All those used by God are able to speak the word of God. If you cannot, this shows that the Holy Spirit has not worked in you and you have not been perfected. This is the importance of the word of God. Do you have a heart that thirsts for the word of God? Those who thirst for the word of God thirst for truth, and only such men are blessed by God. In the future, there are many more words that God will say to all religions and all denominations. He first speaks and utters His voice among you to make you complete before moving on to speak and utter His voice among the Gentiles to conquer them. Through the word, all will be sincerely and utterly convinced. Through the word of God and His revelations, man’s corrupt disposition diminishes, he has the appearance of a man, and his rebellious disposition too lessens. The word works upon man with authority and conquers man within the light of God. The work that God will do in the present age, as well as the turning points of His work, all can be found within His word. If you do not read His word, you will understand nothing. Through your own eating and drinking of His word, and through engaging in fellowship with your brothers and sisters as well as your actual experience, your knowledge of the word of God will grow comprehensive. Only thus will you be able truly to live it out in reality.
from “The Age of Kingdom Is the Age of Word” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The truth that man needs to possess is found in the word of God, a truth that is the most beneficial and helpful to mankind. It is the tonic and sustenance that your body needs, something that helps man restore his normal humanity, a truth that man should be equipped with. The more you practice God’s word, the more quickly your life will blossom; the more you practice God’s word, the clearer the truth becomes. As you grow in stature, you will see things of the spiritual world more clearly, and you will be more powerful to triumph over Satan. … Therefore, you can go everywhere with the truth, but if there is no truth in you, don’t think of trying to convince your family, much less religious people. You will be like fluttering snow without the truth, but with the truth, you can be happy and free, where none can attack you. No matter how strong a theory is, it cannot overcome the truth. With the truth, the world itself can be swayed and mountains and seas moved, whereas a lack of the truth leads to ruin by maggots; this is simply fact.
from “Practice the Truth Once You Understand It” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
a. The original text omits “of the parable.”