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The communicate it with all of you.said: “Suffer little children to come to me, and forbid them not: for of such is the . Truly I say to you, Whoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein” (Luke 18:16-17). As can be seen from the words of the Lord, God loves and blesses honest people; only after we have become honest people can we be qualified to enter into the kingdom of God. So undoubtedly, each of us believers in the Lord should practice being an honest person if we want to gain the Lord’s approval. Then, what are the principles of being an honest person? Recently, a preacher fellowshiped this aspect of the truth with me, which benefited me a lot. In the following, I’d like to
Each of us Christians must pray to God every day, but is our prayer really after God’s heart? Then, let’s see how we pray to God in most situations. When encountering a difficulty and wanting God to help us, we say nice-sounding words in our prayer, “Lord, if You help me solve this problem, I’m willing to dedicate myself to You and spend all my life for You.” However, after God resolves our problem, we put our prayer before God to the back of our mind; the vow before God has become a lie. Sometimes, we justify ourselves and show off ourselves in prayer, and tell the Lord all of our suffering and the work that we do for Him, wanting Him to remember us and bestow a crown of righteousness on us in the future. Such prayer is a transaction with God. Sometimes, when we encounter a matter, instead of seeking the Lord’s intention, we just blindly praise God with many repeated and empty words in prayer; actually, we are not moved in our heart and just go through the process. It can be said that we are constantly making those deceitful prayers as above every day.
The Lord Jesus said, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). “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). From the Lord’s words we can see that God wishes us to draw near to Him and worship Him with an honest heart. God doesn’t care about whether our prayers are long or short, or whether our words are pleasant to listen to; He only cares about whether or not our prayers come from the true heart. So, we should purely and openly pray to God, saying heartfelt and honest words to Him; besides, we should honestly confess our wrongdoings, and transgressions to God and truly repent, guaranteeing that we will never sin again. For example, David’s prayer ofis sincere. In his later years, his servants brought a young girl to his bed to join him under the covers and keep him warm, but David didn’t move close to her. Additionally, when encountering a matter, we shouldn’t only focus on the external praise in prayer but should seek, ponder, and understand God’s will and thus give our sincere praise to God. Take the prayer of Job as an example. In the midst of trial, through pondering and seeking, Job finally uttered such praise: “Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah” (Job 1:21). Such prayer is sincere and is accepted by God. Besides, there is another point we should pay attention to in prayer: We must work hard to fulfill what we have said before the Lord, and think and act in the same way.
Every day, we say many words. If examining our words carefully, we’ll find that we often lie for the sake of protecting our own interests. For example, when our brothers and sisters ask us to teach them a skill we are good at, for fear of being surpassed, we would hold back for ourselves and say that we have taught all we know when teaching them. Sometimes, when others ask us something, unwilling to reply to them directly, we answer what is not asked. For instance, someone might ask us, “I seemed to see you went to a certain place yesterday. Is that right?” Not wanting him to know the truth, we would avoid the question asking him, “And what about you?” This is being deceitful. Sometimes, when the church leader asks us about the situation of someone, afraid of offending others, we dare not tell the truth but reply, “I don’t know. But you can ask others.” It can be said that each of us tells lots of lies every day.
Then, how can we solve the problem of lying? First, we should know that God is omnipotent and omniscient and inspects people’s heart. When saying every sentence, we must receive God’s observation; we must pay strict attention to what we say and practice speech based on fact; we must call a spade a spade and not go against our conscience. Just as the Lord Jesus said, “But let your communication be, Yes, yes; No, no: for whatever is more than these comes of evil” (Matthew 5:37). So, we must closely examine every sentence we speak, and seriously treat every lie, words that untrue, words that dilute the truth, words that are not accurate, and words that do not fit the facts. If what we say is wrong, we must make up for and reword it; if we discover a problem, we must tell others as soon as possible, and open our hearts to brothers and sisters about the intentions and goals behind our words.
In the course of practicing being an honest person, we must rely on the Lord and make a resolution before Him, “Lord! Because Satan has corrupted me so deeply I have turned into someone who lies all the time. I deserve to be damned, but You still save me, letting me repent and change so that I can become a new person. Today I pray to You. I’m willing to become a person who tells the truth without any falsehoods. If I don’t make enough effort, may You discipline me.” Then we should begin to practice telling the truth. This means we must tell the truth under whatever circumstances and be thoroughly able to speak based on facts, based on what we ourselves grasp and what we know. So long as we do this way, we can guarantee what we say is honest.
We believers in God try our best to perform some duties, which is the duty that the created should fulfill and the manifestation of us repaying the Lord’s grace of salvation. But if we work for the Lord with the intentions to engage in transactions, that is simply deceiving God. For instance, some people think that as long as we abandon and expend and make great sacrifices for the church’s work, we are sure to be able to enter the kingdom of heaven. Some think that as long as we devote our entire life to the Lord, establish churches everywhere and support and supply brothers and sisters, we will certainly gain the crown of righteousness in the future. And some even believe that so long as we often help those brothers and sisters in difficulty, the Lord will surely bless us, making our own family prosperous. Each of us is making deals with the Lord and speaking of conditions. From the outside, we are working for the Lord, but in reality we want to use the temporary sacrifices to gain God’s grace and blessings. We are nowhere near satisfying God with an honest heart.
However, an honest person can spend for God diligently and conscientiously in obscurity as a creature of God; he is willing to give all he has and asks for nothing in return. Pursuing to satisfy God’s will is his most comfort, even if he will suffer all his life. Just as God’s words say, “Working diligently and conscientiously in obscurity, always giving and never taking, then I say that you are a loyal saint, because you seek no reward and are simply being an honest man.” Peter is such a person. In doing the church’s work, he never thought about his personal enjoyment of the flesh or his future and fate, but entrusted his future and fate to God with the belief that the destination God arranged for him was the best. The Lord Jesus looked highly upon Peter, so He entrusted the duty of shepherding the churches to Peter before He resurrected and ascended to heaven. Peter took the commissions from God as the highest mission and duty, regarding satisfying God’s requirements as the goal for his lifelong pursuit; at last, he achieved an ultimate love for God and obedience unto death, creating a resounding testimony for God.
Outwardly, we have returned to the Lord, but what we can’t deny is that the Lord’s words have yet to become our life. There are many satanic viewpoints and life philosophies within us, so our hearts are still controlled by Satan and not completely given to the Lord. Some people advocate money and put all their hearts into it, thinking that they cannot live without money; some advocate fame and status, thinking that only if they have status and are supported and admired by others do their lives have meaning; some follow the evil trends of the world, pursuing life’s pleasures, with the belief that only if they enjoy well will they not live in vain. From this, we can see that we are still serving Satan while following God; in the presence of God, our hearts are turned away from Him. Isn’t this the biggest deception?
Given that we have believed in God, we should give our hearts to Him, seek His will in all matters, act according to His words, and obey His arrangements in everything. Giving our hearts to God is not just merely handing control of things that serve God over to God. Things like our future life path, our life goals must be pursued based on God’s requirements of us. The Lord Jesus said, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve” (Luke 4:8). Fame and profit and status, and the pleasures of the flesh are just worldly possessions. Only pursuing worshiping God and obeying Him is indeed the meaningful life, and that is also one of the Lord’s requirements of us and what we should practice. Moreover, the big things in life, such as our marriage, family, and lifestyle—all these should be entrusted to God’s hands. What we should do is live according to our life course preordained by God, and give greater priority to satisfying God without following our own will. Take Job as an example. He handed control of his all over to God, dedicating himself to God in body and mind. So, when he lost all of his wealth and his sons and daughters, and even had boils all over his body in the great trials, he never once complained about God, but pursued to obey Him and at last stood witness for Him. Thus he was called righteous by God and was the honest person in the eyes of God.
So as long as we act according to those principles above, we will gradually become the little children in God’s eyes who are pure and honest. Brothers and sisters, let’s move forward to the path of being an honest person.
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By Wuruo, United States Prayer is the bridge for us to have a spiritual communication with God. God is the Spirit; only when we use our heart and honesty to worship Him, can we enter into a genuine connection and establish a proper relationship with Him. After accepting God’s new work, I often had meetings and fellowshiped God’s words with my sisters, through which I gradually gained some knowledge about God’s work. Every time gathering with my sisters, I found their fellowships about God’s words were clear and their prayers fluent and genuine. Envious of them, I really hoped that I could pray like them. But there were many spiritual words which I was not familiar with in their prayers, and I couldn’t imitate it no matter how hard I tried. Gradually, I became intimidated when attending meetings, fearing that my sisters would ask me to make a prayer, and had less desire for the truth. Every time seeing my sisters pray confidently, I became so nervous that when I prayed I went blank with ears burning and face flushing red, and could only finish the prayer in a hurry. I thought: Luckily, we had the meeting online so that the sisters didn’t see my embarrassment. But considering my poor performance, I bet they would look down on me and laugh at me. During that time, I was afraid to make a prayer in meetings, worrying that I would be laughed at by my sisters if I couldn’t pray well, so much so that I kept pondering how to pray well when working in the daytime. However, I often forgot what I had prepared when I prayed in the meeting. So, every time before the meeting, I would write a draft lest I forget the prayer. Once before a meeting, I racked my brain to draft a prayer and checked it over and over again until I was satisfied with it. Feeling myself well-prepared, I couldn’t wait to impress my sisters with my prayer. When we had the meeting in the evening, the sister shared a passage of Preaching and Fellowship About Life Entry, “He (the Lord Jesus) has come incarnate as the Son of Man and begun to express the truth and do His work of judgment in the last days, so you accept. This means you have been raptured, you have been raptured up before God, you have been lifted up into the air to meet with the Lord. … This is why I congratulate you. This is the meaning of my congratulations. Do you understand?” Concerned about what I would say in my prayer, I didn’t pay attention to this passage of fellowship. When it was my turn, I prayed as I had prepared. At the end of the prayer, I said, “I hope that we will be raptured up before God as soon as possible and attend the wedding feast of the Lamb together.” After prayer, I felt happy and thought: This time, my sisters will definitely approve of my prayer. When I was getting pleased with myself, a sister said to me, “Sister, we have accepted the work of Almighty God in the last days, so we have been raptured before the throne of God.” Her words made me awaken suddenly. It’s right. Didn’t I read the fellowship regarding this subject just now? How could I still say “I hope that we will be raptured up before God as soon as possible”? How will my sisters think of me? At that time, I felt so ashamed to see anyone and couldn’t wait to find a place to hide away. Since then, I no longer relied on my own way to resolve my difficulty in prayer, because human means were useless and would only make things worse. Then I set aside my pride and sent the sister a message, in which I poured out my confusion to her. Soon I received her reply, “In fact, our purposes of praying are wrong. We always care about how others would think of us and live before others, so we don’t pay attention to communing with God and speaking words in heart to God when praying but just speak deep doctrines or copy others to make others think highly of us. We should learn to set aside our pride, practice living before God, and have a true communion with God. In this way, we will live freely and unrestrainedly.” Reading the sister’s message, I felt that her words pointed out my state: When hearing my sisters pray so confidently, I was really envious of them and hoped to pray as well as them. Then I began to copy their prayers, falling into the state of competing with them. As a result, I couldn’t open myself to commune truly with God in a released way. Now I understand that it is all because of my vanity. Then what should I do to break free from the bounds of vanity? At that time, the sister sent me a passage of God’s words: “Whenever you do anything, you must examine whether your motivations are right. If you are able to act according to the requirements of God, then your relationship with God is normal. This is the minimum criterion. If, when you examine your motivations, there emerge those that are incorrect, and if you are able to turn your back on them and act according to the words of God, then you will become someone who is right before God, which will show that your relationship with God is normal, and that all that you do is for the sake of God, and not for yourself. Whenever you do or say anything, you must put your heart right, be righteous, and not be led by your emotions, or act according to your own will. These are the principles by which believers in God conduct themselves.” Seeing the revelation of God’s words, I felt even more ashamed. Thinking of my thoughts and considerations, I found that I only cared what others thought of me and lived before men, but never focused on God’s requirements or practicing His words. God is righteous and holy, and looks into my thoughts and ideas. He arranged this situation to make me recognize my wrong intention so that I could change it. Aside from shame, I also appreciated God’s kind intention: He wants me to set aside my pride, pray according to His requirements, and accept His observation. All He did was to cleanse my corruption. Having realized that there was something impure which God didn’t love in my prayer, I resolved to change my wrong motive in praying. The sister continued to fellowship with me: “God arranges surroundings to change us and purify us. We should practice living before God and truly praying to Him. Only in this way can we establish a normal relationship with Him.” Since then, I began to practice praying to God every morning and evening, telling Him the things happening in my life. Thanks to God’s guidance, when I didn’t care about how others thought of me, I no longer felt nervous but released in my heart when praying. After a period of time, my prayer, however, became a ceremony rather than a true communication with God, because I just went through formalities, like making a call to seniors only for exchanging the usual pleasantries at New Year and on festival days. Compared with my sister’s prayer which had the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, my prayers were dry and banal. Then, I thought of the five types of substandard ways of praying: The first type is praying with insincerity, the second is praying during religious ceremonies, the third is deceitful prayer, the fourth is trying to reason with God or negotiate through prayer, and the last is a doubtful or testing prayer. Reflecting on myself, I found that I looked at prayer as a ceremony, praying at a specific time every day; though repenting verbally, I didn’t have any transformation within; when praying, I didn’t say the words in my heart to God but repeated the same words or said nice-sounding words to deceive God. Wasn’t I just fooling God? At these thoughts, I was ashamed and felt myself to be so hypocritical. Then I came before God and prayed to Him, “Oh, God! Now I realize that my prayer is a religious ceremony which neither meets Your requirements nor conforms to Your will. I am willing to change the way I practice praying. May You lead me to understand what true prayer is.” Later, I found the right way to practice praying in God’s words. God word says: “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, making you able to know yourself, and despise yourself, and forsake yourself in the environment that God has set for you, thus allowing you to have a normal relationship with God and making you someone who truly loves God.” Reading God’s words, I was moved. God taught me how to pray just like a mother taught her child to talk. In fact, He doesn’t ask us to praise Him with nice-sounding words or give long-winded speeches. He doesn’t accept the prayer with insincerity. Then I was reminded of Luke 18:13, “And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes to heaven, but smote on his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.” Though the publican only prayed to God with one sentence, his prayer was accepted by God. Actually, it matters not how nice-sounding are the words of our prayers—what is key is whether or not we speak honestly. As long as we speak the words in heart, God will accept our prayer. I also understood that to enter into true prayer, we must first be quiet before God, speaking from the heart instead of deceiving Him with words of praise or cheating Him with falsehoods or empty word; besides, we should pray about actual things and difficulties in our life, not to go through the process but to come before God sincerely to seek the truth and the way of practice, through which we can gain the work of Holy Spirit and have deeper knowledge of our own corrupt disposition and better understanding of God’s will to save man. After understanding these things, I prayed to God, “Oh, God! Thanks for Your enlightenment and illumination. Now I understand that prayer is the bridge for us to communicate with You. If our intentions are wrong, we can’t have a true communication with You. I am willing to pray according to Your requirements in the future and establish a normal relationship with You.” Since then, I began to pray according to God’s word, paying attention to speaking words in my heart to God, bringing my actual difficulties before Him, and asking Him to help me act according to His will. After some time, I had more words to say to God when praying rather than just repeating the same old things. And I found when I sincerely entrusted my difficulty to Him in prayer, He would fulfill my prayers. Thank God! Now I finally know how to pray truly to God.
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