Praying, No Longer Afraid - Spiritual Growth
Thank the almighty and one true God! I have been following Almighty God for 11 months since July, 2016. In the past 11 months, I have experienced much of God’s love, which has helped me grow under His care and protection. In this period, I have also experienced trials, refinements, chastisements, and judgments. Bit by bit, I have truly perceived that God’s disposition is not only merciful and loving, but also majestic and wrathful. However, no matter what God does, ultimately it is all to transform and purify me. Thank Almighty God for His salvation!
If I merely knew God’s mercy and love without experiencing His majesty and wrath, I would be a baby in its mother’s arms that would never grow. It is Almighty God who is bringing me up from infancy so I can fulfill the duty of one of His creatures.
Every time when I hear the hymn of life experience “If I Were Not Saved by God,” I think of what happened before I accepted Almighty God’s work in the last days. Because of the negative propaganda on the Internet, I, without any discernment and without seeking or investigating, began to condemn Almighty God’s work. I avoided the brothers and sisters, and even blacklisted them and no longer contacted them. I was so disobedient, rebellious, foolish, and ignorant; I was unworthy to follow God. However, God still showed mercy to me, and saved me in different ways. It is through God’s love that today I can keep up with His footsteps and follow Him. I have truly realized that Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus. He has incarnated to express teachings and do the work of judgment and purification, and through His words I have grown in life and come to know that there is corrupt, satanic disposition in me. Everything that God does is to return me to the beautiful life in the Garden of Eden.
After I accepted Almighty God’s work, I began to live the church life on the Internet. The Bright Church was the first church I joined. At the time when I just joined the church everything was unfamiliar to me, and I felt a little nervous due to not knowing how to fellowship with the brothers and sisters and not having any entry into God’s words. But they, I clearly remember, did not discriminate against me because I was a new believer. They cared for me and helped me understand the truth quickly and solve the difficulties I encountered in my daily life, which gave me a feeling of warmth.
After communicating with the brothers and sisters a lot in the meetings I gradually got a deep understanding of them and took to meeting in person with them. However, at the beginning of every meeting, we always prayed and sang hymns, both of which were my weaknesses. Fearing that I couldn’t pray well and that the brothers and sisters would laugh at me, I sought ways to escape praying and singing hymns. In every meeting, I had excuses for being late online, and I was only ever online after all the brothers and sisters finished praying and singing. At the end of the meeting, I would again find excuses to be offline first. I came to feel that it was not bad for me to do that.
Not long afterward, I caught a bad cold suddenly. It was the first time I had ever caught a cold in summer, which made me puzzled. For several days, because I felt unwell, I rested at home and didn’t work or attend the meetings. After four days of some discomfort, I felt a little better, and gathered with the brothers and sisters online. After I was online, all of them showed much concern for me, and asked me, “Why were you offline recently? Are you all right?” “How have you been lately?” “Do you have any troubles?” … Their care moved me. We had never met and had just known each other for a short time. We gathered together just because we all believe in Almighty God. But they knew how many days I had been offline, and they were also aware of my weakness and suffering. Thank God! It is God’s love that unites us. I told them all my recent problems to seek their help, and also told them that I had found excuses not to pray in each meeting because I feared praying. After hearing this, they found many passages of God’s words and fellowshiped with me. From Almighty God’s words, I understood why to pray and how to practice prayer.
Almighty God says: “What is the significance of prayer?
“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. As a believer in God, the more one prays, that is, the more one is moved by God, the more one will be filled with resolution and the better able one will be to receive new enlightenment from God. As a result, this kind of person can very quickly be made perfect by the Holy Spirit.
“What effect is prayer meant to achieve?
“People may be able to carry out the practice of prayer and to understand the significance of prayer, but for prayer to be effective is no simple matter. Prayer is not a case of just going through the motions, following procedure, or reciting the words of God. That is to say, praying is not parroting certain words and it is not imitating others. In prayer, one must reach the state where one’s heart can be given to God, laying open one’s heart so that it may be moved by God. If prayer is to be effective, then it must be based on the reading of God’s words. Only by praying from within God’s words can one receive greater enlightenment and illumination. The manifestations of a true prayer are: Having a heart that yearns for all that God asks, and moreover desires to accomplish what He demands; detesting that which God detests and then, building on this foundation, gaining some understanding of it, and having some knowledge and clarity regarding the truths God expounds. Where there is resolution, faith, knowledge, and a path of practice following prayer, only then can it be called true prayer, and only this type of prayer can be effective. Yet prayer must be built upon the enjoyment of God’s words, it must be established on the foundation of communing with God in His words, and the heart must be able to seek God and become quiet before Him. Prayer of this kind has already entered the stage of true communion with God.
“The most basic knowledge about prayer:
“1. Do not blindly say whatever comes to mind. There must be a burden on your heart, that is, you must have an objective when you pray.
“2. Prayer must contain the words of God; it must be founded upon the words of God.
“3. When praying, you must not rehash outdated issues. Your prayers should relate to the current words of God, and when you pray, tell God your innermost thoughts.
“4. Group prayer must revolve around a center, which is, necessarily, the present work of the Holy Spirit.
“5. All people have to learn intercessory prayer. This is also a way of showing consideration for the will of God” (“Concerning the Practice of Prayer”).
After I read these words of God, I understood that through prayer we can receive enlightenment and illumination from God, and understand the truth; that through prayer we can obtain God’s guidance and live with His blessings. Without prayer our hearts would move away from God easily, and we would easily become passive and weak and live in darkness when we encounter something disagreeable to us. Without prayer, it means that we sever our relationship with God and are no different from the unbelievers. I realized that prayer is so important to me. From God’s words I also understood how to: I should speak the words within my heart to Him, and tell Him my difficulties to seek the truth to solve my problems, so that I can understand His will and put the truth into practice. In the meetings after that, I no longer retreated because of my fear of praying. God’s words made me know that only prayer is the closest contact with God and is also the best communication with God. Thank God!
Because of feeling ill from the cold, I prayed to God. When I spoke the words within my heart to God, I felt especially released from fear and free. I felt I truly had something to rely on, and gained strength. After my prayer, I felt less ill and distressed than before, and almost without knowing it, I recovered from my illness. Through this experience, I truly appreciated that prayer is not something difficult, and even less something horrible. It is not that if I don’t pray well, God will not listen to me and the brothers and sisters will laugh at me. In fact, there was no need for me to worry about it. As long as we speak heartfelt and honest words, God will listen to our prayers and our brothers and sisters will approve. Prayer is the best opportunity for us to share the words in our hearts with God, the path by which our spirits are set free, and the best means by which we receive God’s guidance and enlightenment so that we can have a path to walk. Thank the almighty and practical God! Because of the experiences in this period of time, I have truly understood the corruption that I exposed—my efforts to save face. I tried to escape praying by using tricks. However, God sees deep into our hearts, and observes my thoughts and ideas and my every move. He used the serious cold to make me reflect on myself, recognize my corruption, and seek the truth to solve it. From this, I have realized that God’s love is not only merciful and loving, but is also chastisement and refinement for the corruption we expose, so that we will be cleansed of corrupt dispositions. I think this is the true meaning of God’s work of judgment. Thank the almighty and practical God!
- Extended Reading:
- Concerning the Practice of Prayer