Prayer is often overlooked by us in our daily life. Often times, we pray before God perfunctorily, just going through the formalities. Never have we presented our hearts before God to have true prayers, and we just hurriedly come before Him to pray and look up to Him when we encounter some issues. It is because of such an attitude that we don’t know how to pray to God, even if we have believed in Him for many years. Today, let’s share how to pray to God together.
1. What Does It Mean to Truly Pray?
One day, a friend of mine came to my home and had a gathering with me. In talking about this topic, she took out a book and read to me: “What does it mean to truly pray? It means speaking the words within your heart to God, and communing with God having grasped His will and based upon His words; it means feeling particularly close to God, feeling that He is in front of you, and that you have something to say to Him; and it means being especially radiant within your heart, and feeling that God is especially lovely. You will feel especially inspired, and after hearing your words your brothers and sisters will feel gratified, they will feel that the words you speak are the words within their hearts, the words they wish to say, and that what you say represents what they want to say. This is what it means to truly pray” (“Concerning the Practice of Prayer”). This paragraph of words allowed me to understand: A true prayer means speaking our heartfelt words to God and opening our hearts to commune with Him about our difficulties, things that we face, and the questions we don’t understand. Through praying to God and drawing close to Him, we understand His will and find the ways of practice. With prayer such as this, we can be clear-minded and enlightened under the guidance of God, so that we can see the true nature of problems more thoroughly. In the meantime, we can feel that God is right by our side; our hearts will feel particularly close to Him and our relationship with Him gradually gets closer. If we always pray to God in this way, our prayers will be after His heart and surely be answered.
2. What Is the Content of Prayers?
Later we fellowshiped about the content of prayers. Many times our prayers before God are dry and banal and we don’t know what to say; we only spew out all difficulties and worries in our life and work to God, not caring whether it conforms to His will or not or whether He will listen to it, we just babble on and on like reciting scripture. As a result, we are unable to obtain the Holy Spirit’s work and our problems can’t be solved. Is this not ignorant? Actually, the has long since told us, “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things. But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:31-33). From this passage of s, we come to understand: Praying is not to seek what we will eat, drink, or wear. God has painstakingly arranged these material needs for us since we came into this world, and there is no need for us to pray for them. This is similar to a mere child; does he need to tell his parents what he will eat and put on every day? No. All necessaries of his life have been arranged appropriately by his parents. In many instances, we pray to God, “Lord, I have no a good job, please give me one,” “Lord, I’m being sorely pressed, please give me a chance to make money,” and so on; such kind of prayers is not in line with the will of God. God has told us what the content of prayers ought to be, “You should pray, step-by-step, in accordance with your true state and that which is to be done by the Holy Spirit, and you should commune with God in keeping with God’s will and His requirements of man. … 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 carrying out the will of God, and for the sake of loving Him. Such is the truest kind of prayer” (“Concerning the Practice of Prayer”). Are your prayers for the purpose of carrying out the will of God? If we pray for ourselves, for the sake of satisfying our own flesh and selfish desires, God will definitely not accept our prayers.
3. What Is the Significance of Prayer?
Concerning the significance of prayer, after our fellowship, our understanding was: Only when we understand why we pray to God and the importance of prayer, will we place great importance on praying and pray with our hearts. Only when we know the significance of whatever we do, can lots of problems be readily solved. Then, after all, what’s the significance of prayer? God says, “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” (“Concerning the Practice of Prayer”).
4. How Can We Enter Into True Prayer?
We have just fellowshiped that “What is true prayer?” Then how do we enter into true prayer? God’s words tell us the answer, “Whilst praying, your heart must be at peace before God, and it must be sincere. You are truly communing and praying with God; you must not deceive God using nice-sounding words. Prayer is centered around that which God wishes to complete today. Ask God to bring you greater enlightenment and illumination, and bring your actual state and troubles before God to pray, and make resolution before God. Prayer is not the following of procedure, but the seeking of God using your true heart. Ask that God protect your heart, making it able to often be at peace before God, making you able to know yourself, and despise yourself, and forsake yourself in the environment that God has set for you, thus allowing you to have a normal relationship with God and making you someone who truly loves God” (“Concerning the Practice of Prayer”). These words make us understand: We can enter into true prayer as long as we grasp these three aspects: First, we must be quiet in front of God, speaking from the heart; we should never deceive God with words of praise and never cheat Him with falsehoods or empty words. Second, we should pray around actual things and the situation arranged by God. For example, our practical difficulty is that we don’t know how to practice to be an honest person, yet we pray for God to purify us in that we still have arrogant disposition. So this will be wrong. If we pray like this, it proves that we don’t possess the normal people’s thinking. Third, praying is not to go through the process but to come before God sincerely to seek the related truth and the way of practice, through which we can gain the work of the Holy Spirit and have deeper knowledge of our own corrupt disposition and better understanding of God’s will to save man. Possessing these three aspects of practice, we are able to enter into true prayer.
Our gathering has enabled me to understand the above four aspects of the truth with regard to the practice of prayer. I hope it will help you. Thank the Lord! In the end, I’d like to share with you the basic general knowledge of prayer:
“1. Do not blindly say whatever comes to mind. There must be a burden within your heart, which is to say, you must have an objective when you pray.
2. Your prayers must contain the words of God; they must be based upon the words of God.
3. When praying, you cannot go over old ground; you must not bring up things that are outdated. You should specially train yourself to speak the actual words of the Holy Spirit; only then will you be able to make a connection with God.
4. Group prayer must be centered around a core, which must be the work of the Holy Spirit today.
5. All people must learn how to pray for others. They must find the part in God’s words that they wish to pray for, based upon which they must have a burden, and for which they must often pray. This is one manifestation of care for God’s will” (“Concerning the Practice of Prayer”).