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Only a True Prayer Will Make One Gain the Work of the Holy Spirit – Spiritual Growth
I had been eaten up by lumbar disc disease and no improvement was found after taking many various drugs, so I lived every day in the torture of the disease. Seeing me in pain, my neighbor preached the gospel of the Lord Jesus to me. After coming to the church, I heard the pastor preach the following words, “We believers in the Lord should rely on prayer in everything, because it is said in the Bible: ‘Therefore I say to you, What things so ever you desire, when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you shall have them’ (Mark 11:24). ‘And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that you may be healed. … Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit’ (James 5:15–18).”
After hearing the sermon, I understood that as long as we believers in the Lord prayed in faith, He would bestow on us whatever we needed. So I often prayed; I had morning prayer at dawn, evening prayer of thanksgiving and of praise, and prayer about the simple everyday things. As expected, after a week or so, my lumbar disc disease was healed unconsciously, and my family’s business—livestock breeding—went smoothly. After I received the Lord’s grace, I had more faith in Him. From then on, I prayed to the Lord in big things and small things, asking Him to give me peace and blessings. I often prayed to the Lord, saying, “O Lord Jesus! You created the heavens and earth and all things, and human beings as well. My fate is also controlled by You. May You keep all my family safe and happy. Lord Jesus! The blood You shed on the cross redeemed us. You’re my only Redeemer, my only help, and my ever-present reliance. You selected me from among the vast sea of people and took me to Your house. You love me so much. O Lord! I love You, too. You know what I lack, and You also know what I think. May You give and provide to me according to my need. Please keep my family’s business—livestock breeding—thriving and smooth, and keep my husband and children safe and sound every day. Let my children be obedient and protect them from being corrupted by the evil of the world. Please give my daughter an agreeable boyfriend. O Lord! You are a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path. Please shine upon me. I will thank You, praise You, and sing praises to You every day. I pray in the name of the Lord Jesus. Amen!” After such prayer, I thought: Every day I will pray to the Lord several times, telling him all I need to say and committing my everything to Him, and He will surely bestow on me as I pray. During the first few years, my family became prosperous under the Lord’s mercy. However, for some reason, it seemed that the Lord later didn’t listen to me anymore. Many things in my family went wrong. No matter how earnestly I prayed to the Lord, and how I intensified my prayers, it was helpless. Slowly, my faith became smaller and smaller, and I prayed less and less. My initial faith was gone.
In 2005, I received the kingdom gospel of Almighty God. Then I knew that the Lord Jesus has already returned to do a new work, and that the Holy Spirit has stopped the work in the Age of Grace. Therefore, there was no use for man to pray to the Lord Jesus. Only by praying to Almighty God can man be approved by God. I was glad and attended meetings actively. Each time I got together with the brothers and sisters of The Church of Almighty God, I prayed like before, but I found their prayers were totally different from mine. Their prayers touched my heart very much.
One day, I heard a brother praying, “Almighty God! Thank You for saving me and bringing me to today. By reading Your words, I’ve realized that in the past I believed in You in the religion just for blessings, often making unreasonable demands in prayers. Through reading Your words, I’ve understood that since I, as a creature, believe in You, I should seek to obey You and seek to cast off my corrupt disposition to live out the likeness of a real man. Such man is after Your heart. I’ve known that my previous pursuit was wrong. Without the revelation and guidance of Your words, even if I believed in You in the religion for my entire life, I would not be able to understand all this, let alone know myself. It is Your uplifting that I can know all this. However, many brothers and sisters who have a good humanity and truly believe in You in the religion still haven’t come before You. They are unaware that they are living in their corrupt disposition and resisting You. O God! May You enlighten and guide them, and let more of them return to Your house soon to receive Your salvation. May You give me the resolve to cooperate to preach Your work in the last days to those who truly believe in You, so that those who are living in darkness can also receive Your salvation. Amen!”
After hearing such prayers a few times, I felt ashamed because their prayers were very real. They prayed for seeking a change in their disposition so as to satisfy God, and for spreading the gospel, while I only knew to pray for my own family, asking for grace and blessings. I saw that I was too unreasonable. I was ashamed to open my mouth to pray again. For a period of time, I was perplexed about how to. Even when in the meetings, I could only say, “O Almighty God! I thank You and praise You…,” and then I didn’t know what to say next, unable to find a word to say for a long time. At that moment, I was too embarrassed and really wanted to crawl into a little hole. Though I had believed in God for years, I didn’t know how to pray, which was too embarrassing. I started to be afraid of praying, and even escaped it in the meetings. So I privately practiced praying at home, but I always repeated the same words over and over again, without anything new. I was in pain.
My condition lasted for a period of time, and I was blamed in my heart, so I looked for God’s words related to prayer. I saw God’s words: “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 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, people 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” (“Concerning the Practice of Prayer” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Reading this, I thought: I have believed in the Lord for so many years and have prayed so many times, but I have never been touched by God. I’m actually a dead man without spirit! I’ve severed my relationship with God and the Holy Spirit doesn’t work upon me. With this, am, Can I still be considered a believer in God? What’s more, during these days, because I didn’t know how to pray, I avoided praying, not speaking with God. Isn’t it too dangerous? At that time, I felt fear and couldn’t help going down on my knees to pray, “O Almighty God! I thank You! Your words have enlightened my numb heart. I always neglected prayer in the past, which made me lose the work of the Holy Spirit, lose Your guidance and enlightenment, and sever my relationship with You. Sometimes I wanted to come before You to say to You the words in my heart, but I was unable to say them. I always lived in darkness and pain and felt helpless, but I didn’t know how to speak to You. O God! May You not leave me. Please greatly move me. From now on, I will be closer to You and pray to You more. I don’t want to be a dead man without spirit anymore. May You enlighten me to speak out my heartfelt words in my prayers. Amen!” After the prayer, I was very peaceful in my heart. While practicing how to pray just like this, I kept seeking in God’s words the truth related to prayer.
I saw God’s words: “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.”
“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” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Almighty God’s words pointed out the way to practice praying, telling me what the significance of prayer is, what it means to truly pray, and how to enter into true prayer. As long as I read God’s words more, wouldn’t I gradually know how to pray? Compared with God’s words, my previous prayers were the going through formalities and the following of procedure, were full of unreasonable requirements for God, and were not after God’s heart. I had never truly prayed to God before. I had been asking for grace and blessings from God instead of for loving and obeying Him, completely for my own flesh and for satisfying my excessive desires. I had been eager for God to meet my needs and according to my will, but I had never prayed for considering God’s will, or for gaining the truth and life. This was totally the prayer of resistance and disobedience to God. At that time, I realized that I believed in God neither for pursuing the truth, nor for loving God or satisfying God, and that my prayer was not for dispositional change in my life. I merely made blind demands of Him. Such prayers of mine, no matter how much I said and how many times I prayed, would not be approved by God.
After I compared myself with God’s words and examined my previous prayers, I had a way to practice praying. I wasn’t afraid of praying anymore. According to God’s words, I practiced saying honest and heartfelt words to God in my prayers. I prayed for receiving His salvation, for my corrupt disposition to be cleansed, for properly doing my duty, for satisfying God’s will, and for the truth I didn’t understand. I was very anxious when I saw that God’s work spread throughout the universe, but because I understood too little of the truth, so I was unable to offer my portion for spreading the gospel and was unable to testify the work God had done on me and the painstaking effort He had expended on me. So I prayed to God, “Almighty God! Through experiencing Your work, I come to know that You have paid the painstaking price to save the mankind deeply corrupted by Satan. Now Your work has already spread throughout the universe, and You eagerly expect that more people who have a heart and spirit can return before You soon. However, because I understand too little of the truth, I’m unable to perform my duty for spreading Your gospel, so I feel indebted to You. May You work on me and touch my heart, so I can do all I can for spreading the kingdom gospel.”
Afterward, I saw the kingdom gospel fully spreading online and the brothers and sisters all positively cooperating with God to spread the gospel and bear witness to God by uploading their articles onto the Internet about their gain from believing in God. At this time, I also wanted to write down my gain from my experiences to bear witness to God and offer my portion in spreading the kingdom gospel. However, I was of poor caliber and understood too little of the truth, so I couldn’t use the most suitable words to express what I had gained from God’s work. I was so worried about it. Therefore, I came before God and prayed, “O Almighty God! May You guide and enlighten me and give me the caliber to write articles. I’m willing to testify my real understandings and gain from my experiences of being cleansed and saved by You to help more people who are longing for Your appearance and thirsting for the truth see Your wonderful deeds. Thus they can come before You early and receive Your salvation. This is the duty I should perform. Amen!” Like this, I prayed to God while practicing writing articles. Unknowingly, I was moved and guided by the Holy Spirit, and so I had endless words in writing articles. I felt the more I prayed for being mindful of God’s will, the more faith I had in my heart, and the more strength I had to satisfy God. And I also enjoyed the pleasure brought by the work of the Holy Spirit, feeling very peaceful and secure. It really is so good to say my heartfelt words to God in my prayers. I realize that only if our prayers are aimed to satisfy God and to pursue the truth, can they be approved by God, and can we have the hope of being saved. Thank God for His guidance, which made me understand the importance of prayer and also experience that the benefit brought by true prayer is too remarkable. I will put more effort into practicing praying and speaking practical and heartfelt words, only so can I receive the work of the Holy Spirit greatly, and walk the path toward salvation. All the glory be to Almighty God!
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