Lessons on Prayer, by Witness Lee

More excerpts from this title...


In Matthew 6:22-23 the Lord Jesus said, “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is single, your whole body will be illuminated. But if your eye is evil, your whole body will be dark. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great the darkness!” This word shows us that someone’s heart may not be illuminated, but dark. Why the darkness? The darkness exists because his heart is not pointing toward God. At least, it is off a little, thus losing the light of God’s face. Preceding and following this word, the Lord said, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also…No one can serve two masters…you cannot serve God and mammon.” This word tells us that the heart in man is dark because it is not after God. Rather, it is after things other than God. God is light, and if our heart is pointing toward God, surely we will be illuminated inside. But whenever our heart shall turn away from God, immediately we are dark inside. One who prays must always exercise to have an illuminated heart.

We often hear people say, “Oh, I am so confused and dark within, these days.” This condition reveals to us that the heart of such a person is not fully turned to God and needs to be dealt with properly. This dealing is not just with sins or the world, but even more, it deals with the direction of the heart. Does your heart purely desire God alone, or does it desire other things besides God? If you seek after some fruits of your work, the blessings of God, or spiritual enjoyments, then your heart is pointing in the wrong direction. Once the direction of the heart is wrong, immediately there is darkness within.

Brothers, seriously speaking, not many Christians today are illuminated within. This is because there are still many mixtures in their hearts. They do not seek God with a pure heart. Let us give some illustrations. Suppose you preached the gospel and only two people were saved, but when another preached, twenty people were saved. Following this you did not feel good in your heart. This would prove that you were neither pure nor single. Again, suppose you were in the process of purchasing property for building a meeting hall in your locality, and a certain church was burdened from the Lord to supply the needs of several other churches. While other churches received one hundred thousand or eighty thousand dollars, your locality only received eight thousand. Would you feel happy or not? Now, suppose we change the situation: the supplying church had only eight thousand dollars, yet she gave none to any other church but gave the whole amount to your locality. Surely you would be beaming with smiles, thanking and praising the Lord. It was the same eight thousand dollars, yet your reaction was altogether different! As another example, suppose you and another brother were roommates. A responsible brother of the church goes to visit your roommate for five minutes today, ten minutes tomorrow, and fifteen minutes the day after tomorrow. He does this for four consecutive weeks, yet he never comes to fellowship with you. How would you feel about this? Surely you would grumble inside. These reactions in your heart prove that your heart is not pure. Again, on the Lord’s day at the table meeting both of us prayed. Others gave an amen after you had prayed three sentences, but they said amen to every sentence I prayed—they followed me with amens all the time. Would you be happy or not? You would not be happy because everyone said only a few amens to you, but many to me.

Brothers, these things may seem trivial, but they prove to us how much we are off, and complicated in our hearts. Do not believe that we are so good. If someone would write a biography about us, I think there would be no need to write about anything other than our heart. Because he would not be able to exhaust this one subject, that is, the movements of our heart from morning to evening and from evening to morning. With such a record, you can know how much your heart has been off and how much it refuses God. Such a condition of the heart is the reason that many people are not illuminated. The reason we are dark and not illuminated within is because we are not facing the light. Whenever we serve two masters and love things besides God, our inner eye becomes evil. This is a certainty.

Therefore, brothers, the price of obtaining light is to have the heart turned to God. If one wishes to have light and revelation, there is only one secret: seek God alone with a single and pure heart. If the needle in man is pointing toward many things—in the morning pointing toward benefits, in the afternoon toward position, another time toward men’s approval, and in the prayer meeting toward men’s amens—how could one, being so complicated inside, have the light? Therefore, to learn how to pray, one needs to deal with his heart so that he may be illuminated within.

(Lessons on Prayer, Chapter 10, by Witness Lee)