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Brothers and sisters:
Peace to you in the Lord! Today, our topic of fellowship is “the three problems we must resolve in prayer.” May the Lord guide our fellowship. We brothers and sisters all know that prayer is the path for establishing a normal relationship with God. It’s just as important as breathing. We all hope that our prayers are heard and accepted, but today many brothers and sisters are troubled by the fact that their prayers aren’t heard and accepted. So, how should we pray according to God’s will, and what problems must we resolve in our prayers so that the Lord hears them?
In our daily lives, when we pray to the Lord, we often say things that are false, exaggerated, or empty, so the Lord hides His face and does not listen. For example, we often say in our prayers, “Lord, I know all things in the world are filth, and that we are merely guests and strangers upon this earth. I wish to love You and satisfy You.” However, in our lives, we still can’t let go of worldly things like wealth, reputation, and status, and we even actively pursue them. Sometimes we pray to the Lord and say, “God, I wish to be a loyal steward, and serve You with all my heart, mind, and strength.” But in our work, when we encounter difficulties we don’t know how to solve, we complain of difficulty and hardship. We also often say in our prayers, “Lord, I wish to bear the cross and follow You.” Yet when great trials come to us, such as illness or imprisonment, complaints are produced in our hearts, and we blame the Lord for not protecting our safety. Such prayers are impractical. They aren’t words from our hearts, so the Lord doesn’t accept them. Thesaid: “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). From this, we can see that the Lord demands that we be honest people and that we speak practically and earnestly with the Lord. We shouldn’t speak pretentiously or say unrealistic things, or we are deceiving the Lord and will make Him loathe us. So, when we pray, we must practice speaking to the Lord from the heart, realistically, and forsake false and hypocritical words. We shouldn’t care about how much we speak or how good it sounds, we should care about whether we pray to the Lord sincerely. For example, as we do work for the Lord, we may also wish to pursue worldly things and wealth in our hearts, so we should speak honestly to the Lord and ask the Lord to guide and help us sincerely expend for Him. If we encounter difficulties, we should be truthful with the Lord, “God, I am having difficulties right now, I am weak, I wish to love You yet cannot find the will, so I ask that You move my heart and not allow my difficulties to make me weak.” After this, we must actively cooperate with God and sincerely rely on God. When we make mistakes that offend the Lord or when we misunderstand God amidst trials, we even more so must honestly explain the corruption we expose, our true thoughts, and our difficulties to the Lord, and so on. What we say when we pray to the Lord must be sincere and the truth, because when it is, we will always be intimate with God, and God will hear our prayers. In this way, our knowledge of God will grow deeper, and we will continually grow in life.
Today, many of our brothers and sisters only focus on the external process when praying, and are not praying by quietly going before God. Consider that if you are busy at work and afraid of being late for work in the morning, in an attempt to gain more time, you might mumble a half-hearted prayer to God. Such prayers are a way to muddle through, merely going through the motions. Or, when we say prayers at meetings and we hear another person praying for a long time or saying a great deal, while we ourselves don’t have much to say, we fear that we will be looked down on if we pray less than others, so when our turn to pray comes, we imitate the other person and say a great deal, sometimes even repeating things the other person said. Such prayers are done for other people to see, they aren’t prayers said quietly before God. The Lord Jesus told us, “But you, when you pray, enter into your closet, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father which is in secret; and your Father which sees in secret shall reward you openly” (Matthew 6:6). The Lord’s word tells us that we must have a calm, quiet heart when we pray before God, and that we shouldn’t be under the influence of any person, matter, or thing. For example, we may be rushing to work in the morning, but as we wait for the bus, we can calm our heart and go quietly before the Lord. We can also do so in our hearts while we ride the bus or as we sit at the office. Praying like this doesn’t ask us to obey any rules, it only requires us to be close with the Lord and achieve the result of not departing from Him. Also, when we pray at meetings, we shouldn’t try to make others look up to us when we pray or care how other people see us, we should only seek to quietly go before God and open our hearts to Him and accept the movement of the Holy Spirit. When we do this, we are not merely going through the motions, and God will hear us.
As Christians, we all know that we cannot make extravagant demands toward God, but because we harbor the intention to gain blessings, we often make demands of God without realizing it, making extravagant requests to satisfy all kinds of desires. For example, to get our child into a better school, we might pray, “God, my child’s exams are in a few days. I entrust my child to You, I ask that You grant him (her) cleverness and wisdom so that he (she) gets good results on the exam and can be successful in the future.” Those who do business might pray, “God, I entrust my business to You, I ask for Your protection and care, I ask that You bless my business success and show the Gentiles the miracles You can work, which will also allow me freedom from material lack.” Those who work and expend in the church might pray, “Lord, now I serve and expend for You, I ask that You bless my family with a successful business, so that they won’t lack for food or clothes.” Prayers like these all contain our own extravagant desires. They all demand that God do this or that according to our wishes. We are created beings, and we should have reason before the Creator. We should have hearts that fear God, and not demand that God act according to our wishes. And the Lord Jesus also told us, “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things. But seek you first the, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:31-33). The Lord Jesus taught us that we should take no thought of what we shall eat or how we shall be clothed. We should not seek these things from the Lord, because the Lord will prepare and arrange all we need materially. The Lord requires this of us: “But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.” This is to say that we should first pray for God’s kingdom and righteousness, because God accepts this kind of prayer. Consider that we all know we live in the last days, and we know the prophecies say He will come again, so we should pray more for God’s kingdom to come soon to the Earth, because just as it says, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). We should pray for God’s guidance to be wise virgins, and to be able to welcome the Lord when we hear news of His return. We should also pray to escape our corruption and for purification. Prayers such as these, for gaining the truth and life, will all be heard by the Lord.
Finally, I would like to share with everyone two passages I read on a gospel website. “What does it mean to truly pray? It means speaking the words within your heart to God, and communing with God having grasped His will and based upon His words; it means feeling particularly close to God, feeling that He is in front of you, and that you have something to say to Him; and it means being especially radiant within your heart, and feeling that God is especially lovely. You will feel especially inspired, and after hearing your words your brothers and sisters will feel gratified, they will feel that the words you speak are the words within their hearts, the words they wish to say, and that what you say represents what they want to say. This is what it means to truly pray. After you have truly prayed, in your heart you will feel at peace, and gratified; the strength to love God will rise up, and you will feel that nothing in your entire life is more worthy or significant than loving God—and all this will prove that your prayers have been effective.” “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 must be 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” (“Concerning the Practice of Prayer”).
Thanks be to the Lord. Prayers are our spiritual bridge of communication with God, and as long as we pray to the Lord with a sincere and honest heart, and pray to satisfy God’s will, the Lord will accept and hear our prayers. Thanks be to the Lord for my being able to fellowship this with you all today. Amen!
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