By Si’ai, Canada
It has been more than nine months since Si’ai accepted God’s kingdom. During this period, she had meetings, learned to sing hymns, shared experiences and communicated with brothers and sisters, feeling released and free in her heart. But the only thing that made her feel constrained was to pray audibly in front of the brothers and sisters.
Once, when singing hymns before fellowship, Si’ai became nervous and thought to herself: What will I say if brothers and sisters ask me to pray later? Then she began to marshal the words she would say in her head. Just as Si’ai expected, after singing hymns praising God, brothers and sisters suggested that she pray for others. Si’ai could only bite the bullet and agreed. When praying, she tried to calm herself down and recollect the words she marshaled a few minutes ago, but couldn’t recollect them all. As a result, herwas incoherent, without structure or order, and her heart was thumping with intensity. After praying, Si’ai felt so embarrassed that she was afraid to look at everyone in the eye. Seeing her embarrassed situation, brothers and sisters all encouraged and comforted her, but she still felt shameful and decided not to pray for others anymore in the future.
After that, the church leader encouraged everyone to practice presiding over the meeting. By this way, brothers and sisters could take on the burden of their own and others’ lives growth. Once, after listening to the Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life on line, brothers and sisters shared their own knowledge and harvest with each other as usual. When the meeting was nearing its end, Brother Muzhen presiding over the meeting spoke.
Muzhen: Having listened to the sermon and shared knowledge with each other, let’s pray to wrap the meeting up. Could Sister Si’ai pray together with me?
When Si’ai heard the brother asking her to pray for others, she got so nervous that her heart was thumping. She thought to herself: Should I pray? It isn’t suitable that I don’t pray, for it’s a duty; if I pray but can’t express it well, how will numerous brothers and sisters being on line see me? Si’ai felt lost and really did not have the courage to click the “microphone” icon.
After a while, Brother Muzhen again started to call: “Is Sister Si’ai still on line?”
When Si’ai heard the brother still calling her, resistance began in her heart: How could the brother be like this? You can pray by yourself when I don’t answer, why are you still calling me? Si’ai felt praying together with the brother was very stressful, for he expressed it well. However, the better she wanted to express it, the poorer her prayer was, so she said nothing. Finally, Si’ai didn’t click the “microphone” icon. At that moment, Brother Yang Guang said that the sister might not be in front of the computer and that he would pray for others.
Shortly after the meeting, Si’ai’s phone was ringing. She saw that it was Brother Yang Guang calling. And she received it.
Yang Guang: Sister, weren’t you in front of the computer just now? We’ve finished the meeting.
When Si’ai remembered that she should be honest and couldn’t tell lies as a believer in God, she answered the brother honestly.
Yang Guang: Oh, when Brother Muzhen called you, why didn’t you answer?
Si’ai(a little piqued): When the former sister presided, we all prayed silently; but when Brother Muzhen presided, he asked me to pray for others. I was somewhat restricted in front of so many people, and afraid that if I couldn’t express it well, brothers and sisters would laugh at me: “She has believed in God for a long time but still doesn’t know how to pray.” So I didn’t have the courage to click the “microphone” icon to pray for others. Afterward, I realized that I was wrong to do that, and also felt uncomfortable. But I couldn’t put aside face at that time.
Yang Guang: Sister, the fact that you could think like that, shows that your intent is wrong. Whether we listen to the sermon or pray for others, these are all our duties. If we pray to God with our heart, brothers and sisters won’t laugh at us. Today, the brother asked you to pray for others, and this is God’s love coming down on you. It’s because we don’t know how to pray that we need to practice more.
As he spoke, Yang Guang sent a passage of God’s word to Si’ai.
“If you believe in the dominion of God, then you must believe that the things that happen every day, be they good or bad, don’t happen accidentally. It is not that someone doesn’t get on with you or opposes you on purpose; it is actually all arranged and orchestrated by God. What does God orchestrate these things for? It is not to reveal your shortcomings for everyone to see or to expose you; exposing you is not the final aim. The aim is to perfect you and save you.”
Yang Guang: We can see from God’s word that the people, occurrences and things we encounter every day are all presided, orchestrated and arranged by God. It didn’t happen for no rhyme or reason. For example, Brother Muzhen asked you to pray for others today, although on the outside it seems that the brother asked you to do it, if we retreat to our spirit to understand it, we’ll see all these things are arranged by God. God is aware of our shortcomings and inadequacies and His giving you such a chance to practice was to make up for your lack. If we think that the person is going against us and we complain and don’t obey, we’ll not learn our lessons.
Si’ai: Through such fellowship, I understand that it was really God’s love that the duty of praying for others came upon me. Because I don’t know how to pray, I need the chance to practice. However, for fear of losing face, I didn’t obey and I also complained against and resented Brother Muzhen. Taking such attitude to the environment God arranged for me, I failed to live up to God’s earnest intentions for me.
At that moment, Si’ai felt very blameworthy, and she silently prayed to God in her heart: “Oh God! I thank You for sending the brother to fellowship with and help me. It was really my fault to deal with the thing in such a way that happened today. Prayer is a duty I should perform, but in order not to lose my face, I refused the brother’s invitation of praying for others and I thought that the brother made a difficulty for me and went against me on purpose. My understanding is wrong. Oh God, I feel ashamed before You and I’m willing to repent and apologize to You.”
Later, Sister Xiaoya became aware of Si’ai’s situation and took the initiative to communicate with her.
Xiaoya: We’re always afraid that if we can’t pray well, how others will see us. We can see from this that we attach a great deal of importance to our position and image in people’s hearts. Because we have this kind of situation and revelation, we’ll not pay attention to saying the words that are in our heart to God when praying, but rather caring about how to speak fluently to earn other’s admiration. With these impurities, we can’t quiet our heart in God’s presence, so we can’t get released in our heart and are always restrained and afraid of praying. We don’t harbor right intentions. Let’s read two passages of God’s word.
God’s word says, “The first step of truly loving God and being gained by Him is to completely turn your heart toward God. In every single thing that you do, search yourself and ask: “Am I doing this based on a heart of love for God? Is there any personal intention in it? What is my actual goal in doing this?” If you want to hand your heart over to God you must first subdue your own heart, give up on all of your own intentions, and achieve the point of being completely for God. This is the path to practice giving your heart to God.”
“Do not do things before men; you should do them before God. By accepting God’s observation and inspection, your heart is set aright. If you are always concerned with acting for people to see, then your heart will never be set aright. Also, when you act do not act for yourself. Do not take into account your own interests. Do not take into account the interests of man. Do not take into account your own position, face, or reputation.”
We learn from God’s word that in all things, whether we perform our duty, listen to sermons or pray for others, we should accept God’s scrutiny and face God to do them. How people see us isn’t important, and how God sees us is the key. How we should do can satisfy God and fulfill our duty, and these are what are important. Actually, after being corrupted by Satan, we have cared so much about our face. Whether we speak or do things, we focus on what other people say and how other people see us. Since we are constrained by these corrupt dispositions, we can’t get released in our heart. As far as prayer is concerned, it is a means that we can say the words in our heart honestly to God and get released in our heart, but being controlled and restricted by our vanity and face and fearful of losing face for not expressing it well, we cannot get released in our heart by praying, but instead are more bound and chained. Thus we can’t achieve the results of praying. So when we’re made to pray for others, we should let go of our wrong intentions, don’t consider how brothers and sisters will see us and should quiet our heart in God’s presence. If we practice in this way, we’ll gain God’s guidance and can say the words of praying easily.
Si’ai (happily): After seeing God’s word and listening to the brothers’ and sisters’ fellowship, I understand that all the people, matters and things are orchestrated and arranged by God for purifying me and changing me. I cared so much about my face, and was always afraid that how brothers and sisters would see me when I didn’t express it well in my prayer. God is to change this aspect of my corruption through the situation of praying for others coming upon me.
Xiaoya: Thank God! We can accept this as being from God and understand that God arranged this situation in order to cleanse and change our corrupt disposition. Thus, we no longer live in suffering and misunderstand and blame God. In addition, we should understand the reason why we are afraid of praying. One aspect is that we care so much about our face, for fear that if we don’t express it well and smoothly, how people will see us; another aspect is that we don’t understand the meaning of prayer. I send two passages of God’s word, and let’s read them.
God’s word 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.”
“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….”
We can see from God’s word that prayer is a way to commune with God and establish a normal relationship with God. Only by praying to God with our true heart and drawing near to Him can we obtain the work and enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. Thus, we can better understand God’s word and His will, and establish a normal relationship with Him. For example, there are many things we will encounter in our daily life, and we can only see some external phenomena, but cannot understand the essence of the issue. We also cannot experience God’s work and even less know how to do to be after God’s heart. At this moment, through our praying and seeking, God will enlighten us to understand the truth and His will in these things. Thus, we can act in harmony withand satisfy Him when doing things, and also establish a normal relationship with God at the same time. And God requires us to pray, not asking us to parrot the nice words and say them, but to quiet our heart in His presence and to say the words that are in our heart to Him. Whether our practical difficulties and situation, or the questions we don’t understand, we can pray and commit them to God. As long as we call out to Him sincerely, He will listen to our prayer and lead us to solve these difficulties. As we can see, it is important for any of us Christians to pray to God and commune with God sincerely.
Si’ai: Thank God! I become much clearer in my mind through such fellowship. Prayer is the need of any of us and a process of our communion with God. Prayer is speaking words in our heart to God, saying whatever that must be said to God. If we harbor the right intentions when praying, God will listen to our prayer, lead and enlighten us. Thus, we can obtain the work of the Holy Spirit and establish a normal relationship with God!
Xiaoya: Amen! Thank God.
Through this fellowship, Si’ai understood that prayer is a precondition to our pursuing and gaining the truth. She also came to realize that because she was always controlled by her self-image, she was unable to quiet her heart before God when praying, and that it made her life suffer loss. She resolved to put aside her self-image and put the truth into practice next time.
Later, Si’ai deliberately put aside her vanity in the gatherings, and even if she couldn’t express it well, she was willing to practice praying; and even she proactively said to brothers and sisters, “I’ll pray for others at today’s meeting.” She felt happy when speaking these words, and she could quiet her heart and wasn’t so controlled by her self-image when praying.
Si’ai thought back on her past: Every time before praying, she marshaled the words she would say in her prayer, but when praying, she forgot the sentences which she had thought out. At that time, she treated prayer as a formality and she prayed perfunctorily. Now, when praying before fellowship, she prays and commits the content of what they will fellowship about and the results achieved from gatherings to God. How much she has understood of what she has heard, and how much she’ll pray. She has stopped thinking about saying nice words to earn people’s admiration. After practicing several times, Si’ai felt she could speak naturally when praying, and moreover could obtain the guidance and enlightenment of the Holy Spirit and get released in her heart. Thank God!