Basic knowledge about praying:
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 When praying, you cannot go over old ground; you must not bring up things that are outdated.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. Groupmust 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. This is one manifestation of care for.
Personal prayer life is based upon understanding the significance of prayer and the basic knowledge of prayer. Man must often pray for his shortcomings in his daily life, and must pray upon the foundation of the knowledge of God’s words in order to achieve changes in his life disposition. Everyone should establish their own prayer life, they should pray for the knowledge based upon God’s words, should pray in order to seek the knowledge of God’s work. Lay your actual circumstances before God, and be pragmatic, and don’t pay attention to method; the key is to attain a true knowledge, and to actually experience God’s words. Anyone who pursues entry into the spiritual life must be able to pray in multiple ways. Silent prayer, pondering the words of God, coming to know the work of God, and so on—this targeted work of communion, is in order to achieve entry into normal spiritual life, making your own situation before God better and better, and causing ever greater progress in your life. In short, all that you do—whether it be eating and drinking the words of God, or praying silently or declaring loudly—is in order to clearly see God’s words, and His work, and that which He wishes to achieve in you. More importantly, it is in order to reach the standards that God requires and take your life to the next level. The lowest standard that God requires of people is that they be able to open their hearts to Him. If man gives his true heart to God and says what is really within his heart to God, then God is willing to work in man; God does not want the twisted heart of man, but his pure and honest heart. If man does not truly speak his heart to God, then God does not touch man’s heart, or work within him. Thus, the most crucial thing about praying is to speak the words of your true heart to God, telling God of your flaws or rebellious disposition and completely opening yourself up to God. Only then will God be interested in your prayers; if not, then God will hide His face from you. The minimum criterion for prayer is that you must be able to keep your heart at peace before God, and it must not depart from God. Perhaps, during this period, you have not gained a newer or higher view, but you must use prayer to keep things as they are—you cannot regress. This is the very least that you must achieve. If you cannot accomplish even this, then it proves that your spiritual life has not entered onto the right track; as a result, you are unable to hold on to your original vision, and bereft of faith in God, and your resolution subsequently disappears. Your entry into the spiritual life is marked by whether or not your prayers have entered onto the right track. All people must enter into this reality, they must all do the work of consciously training themselves in prayer, not passively waiting, but consciously seeking to be touched by the Holy Spirit. Only then will they be people who truly seek God.
When you begin to pray, be realistic, and mustn’t overreach yourself; you cannot make extravagant demands, hoping that as soon as you open your mouth you will be touched by the Holy Spirit, enlightened and illuminated, and bestowed with much grace. That is impossible—God does not do things that are supernatural. God accomplishes people’s prayers in His own time and sometimes He tests your faith to see whether you are loyal before Him. When you pray you must have faith, perseverance, and resolution. When they begin training themselves to pray, most people don’t feel that they have been touched by the Holy Spirit and so lose heart. This won’t do! You must have persistence, you must focus on feeling the touch of the Holy Spirit, and on seeking and exploring. Sometimes, the path that you act upon is the wrong one; sometimes, your motivations and conceptions are unable to stand firm before God, and so God’s Spirit doesn’t move you; so too are there times when God looks at whether or not you are loyal. In short, you must devote more effort to training yourself. If you discover that the path you act upon is deviant, you can change the way you pray. As long as you truly seek, and long to receive, then the Holy Spirit will surely take you into this reality. Sometimes you pray with a true heart but don’t feel as if you have been particularly touched. At times like these you must rely on your faith, and trust that God looks upon your prayers; you must have perseverance in your prayers.
You must be honest, and must pray in order to rid yourself of the craftiness in your heart. As you use prayer to purify yourself whenever needed, and use it to be touched by the Spirit of God, your disposition will gradually change. The true spiritual life is a life of prayer, and it is a life that is touched by the Holy Spirit. The process of being touched by the Holy Spirit is the process of changing your disposition. A life that has not been touched by the Holy Spirit is not a spiritual life, it is still religious ritual; only those who are often touched by the Holy Spirit, and have been enlightened and illuminated by the Holy Spirit, are people who have entered into the spiritual life. Man’s disposition constantly changes as he prays, and the more that he is moved by the Spirit of God, the more proactive and obedient he is. So, too, will his heart gradually be purified, after which his disposition will gradually change. Such is the effect of true prayer.
Excerpted from “Concerning the Practice of Prayer”