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One day I got a call from my daughter, and she said, “Mom, the relocation certificate of my residence has been sent here from the hinterland, but my work is keeping me busy. Please help me get it registered at the relevant local department….”
In order to make it a success, I prayed to God, “Oh God! Tomorrow I want to get my daughter’s residence registered. Please help me make it. Oh God! There is much red tape to do this matter, because I need to go to several government departments to have the relevant certificates. I ask You to help me make it smooth. Amen!” And the next morning before I left, I gave the same prayer. I thought that since I had prayed to God, He would surely help me and open up a path for me, and that everything would go all right.
Prayer is a means by which we call upon God, it is the path for establishing a normal relationship with God and, moreover, it is the truth we must put into practice every day. For example, we need to pray in the morning and in the evening; we should pray when we encounter difficulties in work or life; we need to pray when we are suffering from illness or hardships; we need to pray when we are in trials and feel pain…. In a word, our everyday life cannot depart from praying. So do you know why we Christians should pray?
God says, “After God created mankind and granted them spirits, He enjoined them that if they did not call out to Him, then they would not be able to connect with His Spirit and, thus, the “satellite television” from heaven would be impossible to receive on earth. When God is no longer in people’s spirits, there is an empty seat left for other things, and Satan thus seizes the opportunity to get in. When people contact God with their hearts, Satan immediately panics and rushes to escape. Through mankind’s cries, God gives them what they need, but He does not at first “reside” within them. He simply gives them constant aid because of their cries, and from that internal strength people gain hardiness, so that Satan dares not come in to “play” at its will. So, if people continuously connect with God’s Spirit, Satan does not dare to come and cause disruptions.” “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 moved by God’s Spirit. It can be said that those without prayer are dead people who are devoid of spirit, which proves that they lack the faculty to be moved by God. Without prayer, it would be impossible to lead a normal spiritual life, much less keep up with the work of the Holy Spirit. To be without prayer is to break off one’s relationship with God, and it would be impossible to win God’s praise.”
In the Age of Grace, John paved the way for Jesus. He could not do the work of God Himself and merely fulfilled the duty of man. Though John was the forerunner of the Lord, he could not represent God; he was only a man used by the Holy Spirit. Following the baptism of Jesus, “the Holy Spirit descended upon Him like a dove.” He then began His work, that is, He began to perform the ministry of Christ. That is why He assumed the identity of God, for He came from God. No matter the manner of His faith before this—perhaps sometimes it was weak, or sometimes it was strong—that was all His normal human life before He performed His ministry. After He was baptized (anointed), He immediately had the power and the glory of God with Him, and thus began to perform His ministry. He could work signs and wonders, perform miracles, He had power and authority, as He worked directly on behalf of God Himself; He did the work of the Spirit in His stead and expressed the voice of the Spirit; therefore He was God Himself. This is indisputable. John was used by the Holy Spirit. He could not represent God, and it was not possible for him to represent God. If he had wished to do so, the Holy Spirit would not have allowed it, for he could not do the work that God Himself intended to accomplish. Perhaps there was much in him that was of man’s will, or there was something deviant in him; under no circumstances could he directly represent God. His mistakes and erroneousness represented only himself, but his work was representative of the Holy Spirit. Yet, you cannot say that all of him represented God. Could his deviation and erroneousness represent God as well? To be erroneous in representing man is normal, but if he had deviation in representing God, then would that not be a dishonor to God? Would that not be blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit does not allow man to stand in God’s place at will, even if he is exalted by others. If he is not God, then he would be unable to remain standing in the end. The Holy Spirit does not allow man to represent God as man pleases! For instance, the Holy Spirit bore witness to John and also revealed him to be the one to pave the way for Jesus, but the work done in him by the Holy Spirit was well measured. All that was asked of John was to be the way-paver for Jesus, to prepare the way for Him. That is to say, the Holy Spirit only upheld his work in paving the way and allowed him only to do such work, no other. John represented Elijah, the prophet who paved the way. This was upheld by the Holy Spirit; as long as his work was to pave the way, the Holy Spirit upheld it. However, if he had laid claim to be God Himself and come to finish the work of redemption, the Holy Spirit must discipline him. However great the work of John, and be it upheld by the Holy Spirit, his work remained within boundaries. It is indeed true that his work was upheld by the Holy Spirit, but the power given him at the time was limited to his paving the way. He could not, at all, do any other work, for he was only John who paved the way, and not Jesus. Therefore, the testimony of the Holy Spirit is key, but the work man is permitted to do by the Holy Spirit is even more crucial. Was John not greatly witnessed of? Was not his work also great? But the work he did could not surpass that of Jesus, for he was no more than a man used by the Holy Spirit and could not directly represent God, and thus the work he did was limited. After he finished the work of paving the way, none continued to uphold his testimony, no new work again followed him, and he departed as the work of God Himself began.
Every one of us who has faith in the Lord has known and experienced that prayer is very important, but we seldom think about whether our prayers are in accord with the Lord’s will. Some time ago, I read some spiritual books on the Internet and came to know that if we wish to obtain truth and life, we must meet three aspects of prayers every day. When I consciously followed the way given in the book, I actually got some unexpected reward. Here I shall share my gain with you.
You pay no attention to in 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.
Praying is a way for Christians to commune with God and obtain enlightenment from Him, and is an essential practice in our daily life. Since praying is so important to us Christians, how should we pray in accordance with the Lord’s will so that He will hear? This is an issue that every Christian is concerned about. Now let’s find out the answer from three biblical stories.
Presently, there are many Christians devoutly waiting for the return of the Lord Jesus. However, at the same time, they are afraid of being deceived and as a result, they reject the gospel of Jesus’ return. Because in the Bible, Jesus said: “Then if any man shall say to you, See, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; so that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” (Mat 24:23-24). That is why, presently, there are many Christians in the religious world who, even though they have heard someone bear witness to God and tell them that the Lord has returned, do not seek, investigate and discern. Instead, they blindly judge, convict and resist. They maintain that “All those who bear witness to the return of the Lord are false.” Can they welcome the return of the Lord if they have this kind of notion and imagination? If we carefully ponder the Lord’s teachings, we will find that the Lord has actually taught us how to discern fake Christs so that we will not reject the gospel of God’s return solely on the manifestation of fake Christs in the last days. If we allow our fear of being deceived by fake Christs to prevent us from focusing on listening to God’s voice and discerning God’s voice, how can we welcome the Lord’s return? Think back to when Jesus just arrived to do His work. The Pharisees, chief priests and scribes serving Jehovah God in the temple adhered to their own notions and imaginations and the Old Testament Bible. They did not seek or investigate Jesus’ work. Instead, they nailed Jesus to the cross and committed a very serious sin. In the very end, they received God’s punishment and curse. However, Peter, Nathanael, the Samaritan woman and others, after listening to Jesus’ words, recognized that Jesus was the coming Messiah. As a result, they followed the Lord. It is prophesied many times in Revelation, “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” In the Book of Romans, chapter 10, verse 17, it says: “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Therefore, when we hear someone spreading the gospel of Jesus’ return, we should first seek and investigate. From our seeking and investigation, we should then discern whether the Lord has returned or not. In this way, we will not miss the opportunity to meet the Lord again.
Every brother and sister knows that prayer is a way by which we communicate with God. Therefore, apart from in the morning and evening, we also pray before and after meals, at gatherings, on the Sabbath, and so on. However, how exactly should we pray so that our prayers can be accepted by God and conform to His will? Each brother and sister should know it. In fact, the Lord Jesus has already told us the answer to this question. Let us seek this aspect of the truth together.
Editor’s note: Many Christians believe that the longer they pray and the more they say in prayer, the more likely their prayer is to be heard. Is this really how it is? The Lord Jesus said, “But when you pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking” (Matthew 6:7). These words of the Lord demonstrated clearly that He isn’t pleased with these types of prayers. So how should we properly pray to God? Recently, Wang Fang, through the fellowship of her daughter Rui, has understood how to have her prayers heard by the Lord.
Since I believed in the Lord, in order to welcome the Lord Jesus’ return and be raptured to the kingdom of heaven, I have been passionate, preaching the gospel, sustaining the weak brothers and sisters and so on. However, although many years passed, I didn’t see the Lord come to rapture us into the kingdom of heaven. Instead, the faith and love of brothers and sisters in the church were getting colder and colder. In 2002, I suddenly heard that the Lord has already come back to take true believers in Him into the kingdom of heaven. Right then, I had an immediate thought: It’s impossible. The Lord Jesus should come upon a cloud. Afterward, I inquired the brothers and sisters in varying churches about the news that the Lord has come back. They all shook their heads, saying, “That’s impossible. The Lord will come back with a cloud. We all haven’t seen it yet. So, He hasn’t come back.” So I was even more certain that the Lord should come back with a cloud. I could not accept it if the Lord has not come back on a cloud.