The Significance of Prayer and Its Practice (Part Two)

The Bible has recorded the prayers of many people who, in those prayers, had not already set their own terms. Instead, they used prayer to seek and grasp God’s will, and to allow the Holy Spirit to make decisions. For example, the Israelites attacked Jericho through prayer. The people of Nineveh also repented and obtained God’s pardon through prayer. Prayer is not a type of ritual. It is true communion between a person and God, and it has profound significance. From people’s prayers, one can see that they are directly serving God. If you view prayer as a ritual, your prayer will be ineffective, and it will not be a real prayer because you do not speak your inner feelings to God or open your heart to Him. So far as God is concerned, your prayer does not count. You do not exist in the heart of God. How will the Holy Spirit work in you then? As a result of this, after working for a period of time, you will become exhausted. From now on, without prayer, you will not be able to do work. It is prayer that brings about work, and prayer that brings about service. If you are a leader, someone who serves God, yet you have never devoted yourself to prayer or taken prayer seriously, then you have no thoughts to express to God, and in this way, you are liable to go wrong as you perform your duty, and you are liable to stumble as you constantly rely on your own intentions in your actions. It is unacceptable to believe in God without praying enough. Some people seldom pray, thinking that since God has become incarnate, it is enough to directly read God’s words. In this, you think too simply. Can you be enlightened and illuminated by the Holy Spirit just by reading God’s word without praying to Him? If a person never prays to God, in that they do not speak or truly fellowship with God, then they will find it very difficult to cast off their corrupt disposition and to satisfy God in the performance of their duties. Even God incarnate prays sometimes! When Jesus came incarnate, He also prayed when it came to critical matters. He prayed on the mountain, aboard the boat, and in the garden. He also led His disciples in prayer. If you often come before God and pray to Him, this proves that you treat God as God. If you frequently act according to your own desires, and you often neglect prayer and do various things behind His back, then you are not serving God, you are merely engaged in your own endeavors. As such, will you not be condemned? From the outside, it will not appear as though you have done anything that causes disturbance, nor will it seem that you have blasphemed God, but you will just be handling your own affairs. You will be engaged in your own endeavors, and pursuing fame, gain, status, and personal benefits. Is this not disrupting the work of the church? Even if, on the surface, it appears as though you are not being disruptive, in essence your actions are resisting God. If you never repent or change, then you are in danger.

Everyone has been in the state of being in pain and miserable when something unsatisfactory happens, and not wanting to talk to anyone. After a while, they feel better, but this state has not been resolved. Sometimes, they reveal a corrupt disposition in the performance of their duties and they delay the work, or they are pruned, they are pained and distressed, but if one doesn’t seek the truth to resolve this, then this abnormal state will not be resolved. How many times have you come before God in your pain and distress to pray? You all take on a relaxed mindset and just muddle through it. In this way, there are many who claim to believe in God, but who do not have God in their hearts. No matter what duty they perform, whenever they encounter any problem, they never pray or seek the truth. They rely on their own will to do things blindly, seeming as if they are enduring suffering and expending energy, and they think they are doing their duty well, even though they are coming up with nothing and their effort is in vain. People often rely on their own wills and go astray as they walk. Once they do a little work, they grow arrogant, feel that they have capital, and then they have no place for God in their hearts. From this, one can see that people’s nature is to betray. People even think, “How could there be no place for God in my heart if I believe in Him? Aren’t I working for the church right now? How could God forsake me?” It’s not that God wants to forsake you, it’s just that you have no place for God in your heart. No matter how much work you do, you will be unable to redeem yourself of this, you will have no way to gain the work of the Holy Spirit, and no matter what you do, you will keep distancing yourself from God and betraying Him. The lesson of prayer is the most profound. If you go about your duty without even praying, then your performance won’t be up to par, and your labor will be in vain. The more abnormal your state is, the more you should pray. Without prayer, your state will only get worse and worse, and your duty will be ineffective. Prayer does not depend on how good the things you say sound. Instead, it requires speaking from your heart, speaking the truth of your own difficulties, speaking from the position of a created being and from the perspective of submission: “God, You know how hardened humans are. Please guide me in this matter. You know that I am weak, that I am severely lacking, that I am unsuitable for Your use, that I am rebellious, and that whenever I act, I disrupt Your work and do things that do not accord with Your will. I ask that You do Your work, I simply wish to submit and cooperate….” If you can’t even speak these words, there is no hope for you. Some people think, “When I pray, I still need to discern whether I pray with reason or not. Then how should I pray?” Does it take long to discern whether you are reasonable? After each prayer, sincerely reflect, and you will find clarity. As you do this, you will become ever more reasonable in subsequent prayers, because when you pray, you will know that some words are inappropriate. When man prays, their relationship with God is the most direct, and the closest. Can you normally kneel down and pray immediately when you do things? Not always; it depends on the environment. When you are alone at home and you kneel down and pray to God, your relationship with God is at its closest. You can say whatever is in your heart, and you feel the greatest joy. When you read God’s word, if you pray first, reading His word will feel different. When you perform your duty, pray and seek first, then your heart will be serious, and when you perform your duty the effect will be different. If you read God’s word and find light, then pray to God and you will find greater joy. If you never pray, you will not feel God’s presence when you read God’s word and perform your duty. At times, reading God’s word will not enlighten you, and after reading His word, there will be no obvious effect. Nothing you do in your belief in God can be done without prayer. If you pray to God often, and your relationship with God becomes normal, you will have life entry, and your faith will grow stronger. If you don’t pray for a long time, you will lose your faith, and then how will you achieve life entry? People who have real faith attain it by living before God through prayer, and seeking the truth through prayer. Many people just go through the motions as they pray, and do not seek the truth. They only come before God to pray and beg when something happens and there is nothing else they can do. They always force God to do as they wish and satisfy them. Is this true prayer? Does God listen to prayers such as this? Praying and seeking in God’s presence is not a matter of coercing God into doing what you want, much less asking Him to do this or that. These are all manifestations of a lack of reason. What is a reasonable prayer? What is an unreasonable prayer? You will know these things from experience after a while. For example, after you pray, you may feel that the Holy Spirit does not do what you prayed for, nor guide you as you prayed for. The next time you pray, you will pray differently. You will not attempt to coerce God as you tried to last time or make requests of Him based on your own wishes. You will say, “Oh, God! May everything be done according to Your will.” As long as you focus on this approach, then after grasping around for a while, you will know what a reasonable prayer is and what an unreasonable prayer is. There is also a state in which, when you pray according to your own wishes, you feel in your spirit that your prayers are dull, and you soon find yourself with nothing to say. The more you try to say, the more awkward it becomes. This proves that when you pray like this, you are completely following the flesh, and the Holy Spirit does not work or guide you that way. This, too, is a matter of searching and experience. As you experience such matters more, you will naturally come to understand them.

Prayer is mainly about speaking honestly to God and telling Him what is in your heart. You say, “God! You know man’s corruption. Today I have done another unreasonable thing. I harbored an intention—I am a deceitful person. I wasn’t acting according to Your will or the truth. I acted as I willed and tried to justify myself. Now, I recognize my corruption. I ask You to enlighten me more and allow me to understand the truth, put it into practice, and cast off this corruption.” Pray in this way; real things stated and spoken in a real way. When most people come before God to pray, most of their words are that of doctrine. They are not real prayers from the heart. It is only in terms of thinking that they have a bit of knowledge, and their hearts are willing to repent, but they have not put any effort into contemplating or fully understanding the truth. This affects the progress of their life. If you can contemplate God’s words and seek the truth when you pray, and have the Holy Spirit enlighten you, then it is far more worthwhile than simply thinking about it and understanding it; you will be able to understand the truth principles. The Holy Spirit moves people as He works, and He enlightens and illuminates people in God’s words, so that people have true understanding and true repentance, which is much deeper than the thoughts and understanding of people. You must thoroughly understand this. If you engage merely in superficial, haphazard thinking and examination, you have no appropriate path to practice afterward, and you achieve little entry in the truth, then you will remain incapable of change. There are times, for instance, when you resolve to expend yourself in earnest for God, and to repay His love in earnest. Even with this desire in mind, though, you might not expend that much effort, and your heart might not be wholly committed to the endeavor. If, however, having prayed and been moved, you make a resolution and say, “God, I am willing to suffer hardship. I am willing to accept Your trials; and I am willing to submit to You completely. No matter how great my suffering, I am willing to repay Your love. I enjoy Your great love, and You have raised me up. For this, I thank You from the bottom of my heart, and give all glory unto You,” after having offered such a prayer, your whole body will be empowered, and you will have a path to practice. This is the effect of prayer. After a person prays, the Holy Spirit sets to work on them, enlightening, illuminating, and guiding them, giving them faith and courage, and enabling them to put the truth into practice. There are people who read God’s words daily without achieving such a result. However, after they have read them, they fellowship about them and their hearts grow bright, and they find a way. If, in addition, the Holy Spirit moves you, and gives you some burden, as well as some guidance, the results will be very different indeed. When you read God’s words you may only be somewhat moved, and at that time you may weep. After a short while that feeling will pass. But if the prayer that you offer is tearful, earnest, genuine and sincere, and you are moved by the Holy Spirit, then your heart will have joy for many days. This is the effect of prayer. The purpose of prayer is to come before God and accept that which He would give to people. If you pray often, if you often come before God to fellowship with Him, and have a normal relationship with Him, then you will always be moved by Him. If you always receive His provisions, and accept the truth, you will be changed, and your conditions will continue to improve. In particular, when brothers and sisters pray together, an especially great energy arises afterward, and they feel they have gained a great deal. In fact, they may not have fellowshipped much in their time together, but it was prayer that roused them, such that they could not wait a second longer to renounce their families and the world, and they wanted nothing, and having God alone sufficed. What great faith! The strength that the Holy Spirit’s work gives to people can be enjoyed without end! How far can you get by stiffening your neck and relying on your persistence, instead of relying on the strength God gives you? You’ll just walk and walk and run out of strength, and then when you encounter a problem or a difficulty, you will have no way to go. You will fall down and degenerate before you reach the end. There are so many people who have failed and fallen on the path of following God; without the truth they cannot stand. Therefore, people must constantly pray to God, rely on God, and maintain a normal relationship with God unto the end. Yet humans, as they walk on, stray far from God. God is God, humankind is humankind. Each follows their own path. God speaks the words of God, and humankind walks its own path, which is not the same as God’s. When a person loses strength in their belief in God, they come before God to say a few words of prayer and borrow some strength. After they have some energy, they depart once more. After a while, they run out of fuel, and come back to God for more. If a person proceeds in this way, they won’t be able to hold on for very long. If a person leaves God, they have no way forward.

I have now discovered that many people’s ability to regulate themselves is especially poor. What is the cause? This is because people don’t understand the truth to begin with, and if they don’t pray, they are most likely to become debauched. They only understand the words and doctrines, which does not work, and they can’t restrain themselves at all. In such a state, you can only gain enlightenment and illumination from the Holy Spirit through prayer, and only if you understand some truth can you be restrained in some way and have a little human likeness. Believers in God must read His words frequently, put emphasis on the truth, and pray frequently. Only then can people improve, bring about change, and live out some semblance of human likeness. If you only talk about knowing yourself and living out normal humanity, that is not okay; without the work of the Holy Spirit, it will have no effect. If you overlook how, exactly, the Holy Spirit works and moves people, and how people should seek and practice the truth in their daily lives, then how can you believe in God? What duty can you do? If in their hearts, people only believe in the existence of God, if all that is left of their belief is just an acknowledgment of God, and if His words and truth are put to the side, then they will not have life entry, and neither God nor the truth will be in their hearts. People’s thoughts and notions will be full of only the material world. This sort of belief in God has become a religious ritual. Those who do not love the truth could even accept atheism or materialism, and they might gradually put a question mark on whether God exists, and deny the spiritual realm and matters of spiritual life. This is in complete departure from the true way, and they have fallen into the bottomless pit. Without prayer, people’s desire to practice the truth is just a subjective wish; they will just be sticking to the regulations. Even if you act in accordance with arrangements from the Above and do not offend God, you just stick to the regulations, and so you will never perform your duty well. People’s spirits are all numb and sluggish, now. There are many subtleties in people’s relationships with God, such as being moved and enlightened by the Spirit, but people cannot feel them—they are too numb! If people do not read God’s words or pray, and never experience the matters of spiritual life, and cannot get a hold on their own state, they have no way to guarantee they are living before God. If you want to live before God, it is unacceptable to not pray, and even more so to not read God’s words. Not living church life is unacceptable, too. If a person walks away from God’s words they no longer believe in Him, and to walk away from prayer is to walk far away from God. To believe in God, one must pray. Without prayer, there is no semblance of belief in God. I have said you do not have to adhere to regulations, and that you may pray anywhere and at any time, so there are some who seldom pray. They do not pray in the morning when they awaken, but merely read a few passages of God’s words and listen to hymns instead. During the day, they busy themselves with external affairs, and they do not pray before they lie down to sleep at night. Do you not feel it to be true that if you merely read God’s words and do not pray, you are then like an unbeliever reading His words, with the words not sinking in? If people do not pray, then their hearts cannot get into God’s words, and they will not be enlightened by reading them. They will not have subtle feelings of the spirit, nor have their spirit moved. They are numb and sluggish; they just give surface-level fellowship about church work and performing their duty. When something happens, they cannot grasp the innermost feelings of their heart. Does this not influence their normal relationship with God? There is already no place for God in their heart, and pray as they will, no words come out, and they cannot feel God. This is already very dangerous. It means that they have wandered too far from God. Actually, retreating into your spirit to pray will not disrupt you from the external tasks of work; it will not delay things at all. If a problem emerges and it is not resolved, then things will be delayed. Prayer to God is meant to solve problems, and to enable people to live in God’s presence and enjoy His words. This is more beneficial to fulfilling people’s duties, and to their life entry.


Would you like to learn God’s words and rely on God to receive His blessing and solve the difficulties on your way? Click the button to contact us.

Connect with us on Messenger