Relevant Words of God
There is nothing God despises more than the prayers of religious ceremony. Prayers to God are only accepted when they are sincere. If you have nothing sincere to say, then keep quiet; do not always speak false words and blindly make oaths before God, trying to deceive Him, talking about how much you love Him, about how much you wish to be loyal to Him. If you are incapable of achieving your desires, if you lack this resolve and stature, do not, under any circumstances, pray thus before God. That is ridicule. Ridicule means making fun of someone, trifling with them. When people pray before God with this kind of disposition, then at the very least, this is deception. At worst, if you do this often, then you are of utterly contemptible character. If God were to condemn you, it would be called blasphemy! People have no reverence toward God, they do not know how to revere God, or how to love and satisfy Him. If the truth is not clear to them, or their disposition is corrupt, God will let it slide. But they bring such character before God, and treat God as the unbelievers treat other people. Moreover, they solemnly kneel before Him in prayer, using these words to try and wheedle God, and when they are finished, they not only feel no self-reproach, but also have no sense of the seriousness of their actions. That being the case, is God with them? Can someone who is utterly without the presence of God be enlightened and illuminated? Can they be enlightened with the truth? (No, they can’t.) Then they are in trouble. Have you prayed thus many times? Do you do so often? When people spend too long in the outside world, they reek of society’s stench, their scummy nature is amplified, and they become suffused with satanic poisons and ways of living; what come from their mouths are words of falseness and deceit, they speak without thinking, or else speak words that always contain nothing but their own motivations and aims, and seldom have the proper motivations. These are serious problems. When people take these satanic philosophies and ways of living before God, do they not offend God’s disposition?
Excerpted from “Only When You Know Yourself Can You Pursue the Truth”
I have discovered a problem that all people share: When something happens to them, they come before God to pray, but, to them, prayer is one thing, and the matter at hand is another. They believe they should not speak of what is happening to them in prayer. You seldom pray genuinely, and there are some who do not even know how. Actually, to pray is mainly to say what is in your heart, as if you were speaking as you normally do. However, there are people who forget their place as soon as they begin to pray; they insist that God grant them something, heedless of whether it accords with His will, and, as a result, their prayers wither in the praying. When you pray, whatever it is you are asking for in your heart, whatever it is you long for; or, perhaps, there is an issue you wish to address, but into which you have no insight, and you are asking that God give you wisdom or strength, or that He enlighten you—whatever your request, you must be sensible in phrasing it. If you are not, and kneel down and say, “God, give me strength; let me see my nature; I beg You to work; I beg You for this and that; I beg You to make me such-and-such….” That “beg” of yours has a coercive quality; it is an attempt to put pressure on God, to compel Him to do what you want—whose terms you have unilaterally decided in advance, no less. As the Holy Spirit sees it, what effect could such a prayer have, when you have already set the terms and decided what you want to do? One should pray with a seeking, submissive heart. When something has befallen you, for instance, and you are not sure how to handle it, you might say, “God! I do not know what to do about this. I wish to satisfy You in this matter, and to seek Your will. May Your will be done. I wish only to do as You will, not as I will. You know that all human will is contrary to Yours, and resists You, and does not accord with the truth. I ask that You enlighten me, give me guidance in this matter, and let me not offend You….” That is the appropriate tone for a prayer. If you merely say, “God, I ask that You help me, guide me, furnish me with the right environment and the right people, and let me do my work well,” then, after your prayer, you will still not have grasped God’s will, as you will have been asking God to act according to your own will.
Excerpted from “The Significance of Prayer and Its Practice”
Your prayers lack reason far too often; you always pray with the following tone: “Oh God! Since You have let me perform this duty, You must make everything I do appropriate so that Your work won’t be interrupted and the interests of God’s family won’t suffer any losses. You must protect me….” Such a prayer is far too unreasonable, is it not? Would God work on you if you come before Him and pray in such a way? Would I listen if you came before Me and spoke in such a way? I would kick you out the door! Are you not the same before the Spirit as you are before Christ? When one comes before God to pray, they must give consideration to how they might do so sensibly, and to how they might adjust their inner state to achieve piety and be capable of submission. Having done so, it is then fine for you to go ahead and pray; you will feel God’s presence. Many times, people fall to their knees in prayer; they close their eyes, and no words come to them except, “Oh, God! Oh, God!” Why do you shout so, wordlessly, for a long time? Your state is not correct. Do you ever do this? You now know what you can do and to what extent you can do it, and you have taken your own measure, but there are many times when you will be in abnormal states. At times, though your state may have adjusted, you may not know how this has happened, and, more often than not, no words come to you in prayer. You may even attribute this to a lack of education. Must one be well educated to pray? A prayer is not an essay—just speak sincerely, with the reason of a normal person. Look at Jesus’ prayers (although His prayers are not mentioned here to make people assume His place or position): In the Garden of Gethsemane, He prayed, “If it be possible….” That is, “If it can be done.” This was said in discussion; He did not say, “I implore You.” With a submissive heart and in a submissive state, He prayed, “If it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will, but as You will” (Mat 26:39). He still prayed like this the second time, and the third time He prayed, “May Your will be done.” Having grasped the intentions of God the Father, He said, “May Your will be done.” He was able to completely submit without making any personal choices at all. He asked if it were possible for God to take this cup from Him. What did that mean? He prayed that way because He thought of the great suffering of bleeding on the cross to His last dying breath—and this touched upon the matter of death—and because He had not yet completely grasped the intentions of God the Father. Given that He was able to pray like that despite the thought of such suffering, He was very submissive indeed. His manner of prayer was normal; He did not propose any conditions in His prayer, nor did He say the cup had to be removed. Rather, His purpose was to seek God’s will in a situation that He did not comprehend. The first time He prayed, He did not understand, and He said, “If it be possible … but as You will.” He prayed to God in a state of submissiveness. The second time, He prayed in the same manner. In total, He prayed three times (of course, these three prayers did not happen over a mere three days), and in His final prayer, He completely came to understand God’s will, after which He no longer implored for anything. In His first two prayers, He was just seeking, and He sought in a state of submissiveness. However, people simply do not pray like that. In their prayers, people say, “God, I beg You to do this and that, and I beg You to guide me in this and that, and I beg You to make ready conditions for me….” Perhaps He will not prepare suitable conditions for you and will let you suffer hardships. It is so unreasonable for people to always pray, saying, “God, I ask You to make preparations for me and give me strength.” You must be reasonable when you pray, and you must do so under the premise that you are submitting. Do not set the terms before you pray. Before you even begin to pray, you are already setting the terms, thinking: I must implore God and get Him to do such and such. This way of praying is so unreasonable. Oftentimes, God does not listen to people’s prayers at all, so when people pray, they feel nothing at all.
Excerpted from “The Significance of Prayer and Its Practice”