You pay no attention toin your daily life. People have always overlooked prayer. In their prayers before they were simply going through the motions and playing around, and no one has ever fully given their heart before God and truly prayed to God. People only pray to God when something happens to them. Throughout all this time, have you ever truly prayed to God? Have you ever wept tears of pain before God? Have you ever come to know yourself before God? Have you ever had a heart-to-heart prayer with God? Praying is practiced gradually: If you don’t ordinarily pray at home, then you will have no way of praying in church, and if you don’t normally pray during small assemblies, then you will be incapable of praying during large assemblies. If you do not ordinarily draw near to God or reflect upon the words of God, then you will have nothing to say when it is time to pray—and even if you do pray, your lips will just be moving, you won’t be truly praying.
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. After you have truly prayed, in your heart you will feel at peace, and gratified; the strength to love God will rise up, and you will feel that nothing in your entire life is more worthy or significant than loving God—and all this will prove that your prayers have been effective. Have you ever prayed in such a way?
And what about the content of prayers? 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 withand His requirements of man. When you begin practicing your prayers, first give your heart to God. Do not attempt to grasp God’s will; only try to speak the words within your heart to God. When you come before God, speak thus: “O God! Only today do I realize that I used to disobey You. I am truly corrupt and despicable. Before, I was wasting my time; starting from today I will live for You, I will live out a life of meaning, and satisfy Your will. I would that Your Spirit always works within me, and always illuminates and enlightens me, so that I can bear strong and resounding testimony before You, allowing Satan to see Your glory, Your testimony, and the proof of Your triumph within us.” When you pray in this way, your heart will be completely set free, having prayed in this way, your heart will be closer to God, and by often praying in this way, the Holy Spirit will inevitably work within you. If you always call out to God in this way and make your resolution before God, the day will come when your resolution can be accepted before God, when your heart and entire being will be received by God, and you will ultimately be made perfect by God. Prayer is of the utmost importance for you. When you pray, you receive the work of the Holy Spirit, your heart is thus touched by God, and the strength of the love for God within you comes forth. If you do not pray with your heart, if you do not open your heart to commune with God, then God will have no way of working within you. If, having prayed, you have spoken all the words within your heart and the Spirit of God has not stirred, if you do not feel inspired inside, then this shows that your heart is not earnest, that your words are not true, and still impure. If, having prayed, you are gratified, then your prayers have been accepted by God and the Spirit of God has worked within you. 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 forego 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?
Before, you did not know how to pray, and overlooked prayer; today, you must do your best to train yourself to pray. If you are unable to summon the strength within you to love God, then how can you pray? You should say: “O God! My heart is incapable of truly loving You, I wish to love You but I lack the strength. What should I do? I wish for You to open the eyes of my spirit, I wish for Your Spirit to touch my heart, so that before You I am divested of all passive states, and unconstrained by any person, matter, or thing; my heart I completely lay bare before You, such that my entire being is devoted before You, and You may test me however You wish. Now, I give no thought to my prospects, nor am I bound by death. Using my heart that loves You, I wish to seek the way of life. All things are in Your hands, my fate is in Your hands, and, moreover, my life is controlled by Your hands. Now, I pursue the love of You, and regardless of whether You let me love You, regardless of how Satan interferes, I am determined to love You.” When you encounter such things, you pray in this way. If you do so every day, the strength to love God will gradually rise up.
Excerpted from “Concerning the Practice of Prayer”