Words on Other Topics (Excerpt 85)

Are there principles to your prayers to God? In what circumstances do you pray to God? What are the contents of your prayers? Most people pray when they are suffering: “Oh God, I am suffering, I beg You to help me.” That is the first thing they say. Is it a good thing to always say that you are suffering when you pray? (No.) Why not? And if it is not good, why do you still pray that way? This shows that you do not know how to pray, or what one should say and seek when they come before God. All you know is to pray to God when you suffer a bit and feel sad, saying, “Oh God, I am suffering! I feel so miserable, please help me.” This is the prayer of one who has just begun believing in God. It is the prayer of an infant. If one has believed in God for several years and still prays in this way, it is a serious problem. It shows that they are still an infant who has not grown in life. All who believe in God but do not know how to experience His work are people who have not grown in life and who have not yet entered the right track of belief in God. If one is really a thinking person, they must consider how to experience God’s work, as well as how to eat and drink of His words, and how to experience and practice them. Wherever God’s words go, so should one’s experience; one must follow His words to that place. If one can practice and experience God’s words in this way, then they will encounter many problems, and they will naturally seek the truth from God to resolve them. If one always prays to God and seeks the truth to resolve their difficulties in this way, they are experiencing God’s work. By continually resolving their problems, their difficulties will grow fewer and fewer, and they will gradually come to understand the truth, and gain knowledge of God’s work. They will know how they should cooperate with God, as well as how to submit to His work. That is what it means to enter onto the right track of belief in God. Some people who believe in God do not know how to experience His work. They are always muddleheaded—they read God’s words, but do not contemplate them; they listen to sermons, but do not fellowship; and when things befall them, they do not know to seek the truth, nor do they know how to grasp God’s intentions, and they do not know the attitude they should adopt or how they should cooperate. They do not understand these things. They are laymen in these matters, and they lack spiritual understanding. Whatever problems befall them, they never pray to God and seek the truth, and deep down they do not truly rely on God or look up to Him. They just say, “Oh God, I am suffering. Oh God, I am suffering.” They repeat this phrase to the point that people get fed up and disgusted at the sound of it. Most of you pray like that, do you not? (We do.) From people’s prayers, one can see how pitiful their condition is! You only seek out God when you are suffering. When you are not suffering or facing any problems, you feel no need for God, nor do you want to rely on Him. You just want to be your own master. Is this not the condition you are in? (It is.) When most people experience the judgment and chastisement of God’s words, and they are pruned by them, and then reflect on themselves and try to know themselves, how do they pray? They all say the same thing, “Oh God, I am suffering. Oh God, I am suffering.” Do those words not make you feel disgusted? (They do.) People are so withered up inside—how pitiful their condition is! Every time they pray to God, they say the same, simple phrase, without a single heartfelt word. They do not seek the truth and they do not wish to resolve their problems. What sort of prayer is that? What is the problem at play when one cannot say heartfelt words in prayer and does not know what their deficiencies are? When you come before God do you not need Him to enlighten you about anything? Do you not need faith, or strength, or God as your rear guard? Do you need even less for God to enlighten you and guide you to walk the road ahead? Do you not need to understand the truth to resolve the problems that exist in you? Do you not need God’s discipline and chastening, or His guidance? Is the only thing you need from God for Him to relieve your suffering? Can you really not feel in your heart that you have so many deficiencies? Not knowing how to pray is no small problem; it shows that you do not know how to experience God’s work, it shows that you have not brought God’s words into real life, and rarely have any genuine interaction with God in your life. You simply have not established the sort of relationship with God that should exist between God and His followers or between created beings and their Creator. When faced with a problem, you are led by your own subjective assumptions, notions, thoughts, knowledge, gifts and talents, and corrupt dispositions. You have nothing to do with God, so when you come before Him, you often have nothing to say. This is the sorrowful state of people who believe in God! It is such a pitiful condition! In their spirits, people are dried up and numb. They feel nothing when it comes to spiritual matters in life, nor do they have any understanding of them, and when they come before God, they have nothing to say. No matter what sort of situation you find yourself in, no matter what plight you face, and no matter what hardships you encounter, if you are speechless before God, then should your faith in Him not be called into question? Is this not the pitifulness of man?

Why must people pray to God? Praying to God is man’s only path to look up to God and rely on Him. Without prayer, these things are out of the question; relying on God and looking up to Him are accomplished through prayer. Can one who believes in God without praying to Him attain the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit? Can they acquire God’s work and guidance? If you do not entrust your difficulties to God and do not pray to Him and seek the truth, how will He resolve them? How will He guide you to follow Him on the road ahead? How will He save you from your corrupt disposition? It can be said that belief in God without prayer is not true belief in God. A normal relationship between man and God must be built on prayer, and it must be maintained through prayer. Prayer is the mark of man’s belief in God; whether one truly prays is the only criterion for testing whether that person’s relationship with God is normal. So long as one says heartfelt words in prayer, and so long as one can seek the truth in prayer, they can acquire the work of the Holy Spirit, and this shows that they have a normal relationship with God. If one rarely prays and is not able to speak heartfelt words, if they are always guarded against God, that shows that their relationship with God is not normal. And if one does not pray at all, it shows that they have no relationship with God. If a person prays well and in line with God’s intentions, they will be able to submit to Him and they are one whom God loves; those who often pray sincerely are honest people and have a simple love for God. So, all those who believe in God, but do not pray to Him, do not have a normal relationship with God. They are all far from God, and they are rebellious and resistant to Him. Most people who do not pray to God are not lovers or seekers of the truth, and those who do not love or seek the truth cannot pray sincerely. Whatever difficulties they have, they do not pray, and when they do pray, they wish only to exploit God to get rid of their difficulties and suffering. They do not care about God’s intentions, and they do not search in their difficulties for the aspects of the truth they should understand and enter. Such people do not long for the truth and have no true faith in God—in essence, they are disbelievers. As a believer in God, you must pray to God and seek the truth in all things. Though you may not feel immediately after prayer that your heart has been made brighter or that you have gotten a path of practice, wait for God, and while you wait, read God’s words and seek the truth. As you eat and drink of God’s words or listen to sermons and fellowship, focus on bringing your problems into your contemplation and seeking. If you cooperate practically in these ways, it may be that insight comes to you in a flash when you are contemplating God’s words or listening to sermons and fellowship. Or it may be that you encounter some issue, and it inspires you, and you find the answer to precisely the question you have been seeking to resolve. Is this not God’s guidance and His arrangement? So, sincerely praying to God can be effective, but this effect is not something you can attain immediately after prayer. It takes time, and it requires one’s cooperation and practice. One cannot say when the Holy Spirit will enlighten you and give you the answer. This is the process of seeking the truth and understanding it, and it is the path on which man grows in life. After believing in God for many years, you still have to learn how to pray all over again. You still don’t know how to pray, and whenever you face a problem, you either just shout out catchphrases and make resolutions or complain to God and voice your grievances, saying how you are suffering, or otherwise rationalize and justify yourselves. These are the things that are held in your heart, and it’s no wonder that you’ve been so slow to enter the truth. You’re getting sidetracked. You don’t know how to pursue the truth, and it’s hard to say if believing in God like this will be enough for you to receive salvation.

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