We all should be those who teach God’s economy, who fan the gift of God into flame, who call on the name of the Lord Jesus, and who exercise our spirit. At this point we need to consider another crucial matter—being persons of prayer.
I have no doubt that, as believers in Christ, you have received the eternal life and the divine Spirit, but I am concerned that you will go to your class with “ice water” instead of a flame. We have emphasized the fact that to have a flame you need to let the draft come in through opening up to the Lord. Every morning you need to bring in the draft by fanning the gift of God into flame. However, suppose that you have just had a most unpleasant situation with your spouse, and now it seems impossible for you to fan the flame. It may take several days for you to be able once again to fan the flame by yourself, but this will be much easier to do if you pray with a small group of saints. If you pray by yourself, you may keep thinking about the situation with your spouse and thus have no way to fan the flame. However, if you pray with others, they will fan the flame within you. Eventually you also will be able to pray and you will fan them. Then the draft will come in, and you will have a flame.
If you would go to your class in the Summer School of Truth with a flame, you must be a person of prayer. If you are such a person, you will bring a spirit of prayer to your class. You will then be able to stir up the praying spirit of the young people in your class. Everyone must be stirred up to pray. This means that you need to create an atmosphere of prayer. Do not teach unless there is such an atmosphere in your class. To have an atmosphere of prayer, you should allow an adequate time in every class session for prayer.
Do you know what a living meeting is? A living meeting is a meeting that has an atmosphere of prayer. All those who speak for the Lord know that it is easy to speak in a meeting where there is an atmosphere of prayer. Otherwise, it will be very difficult to speak, for you may feel as if you are speaking in a cemetery.
I would remind you that teaching in the Summer School of Truth is absolutely different from teaching in a secular school. There is no need to fan the gift of God into flame in order to teach a class in a secular school. But to teach in our summer school, you must be a person of prayer, a person with a flame who brings in an atmosphere of prayer.
Once you have fanned the gift of God into flame, stirred up the praying spirit, and created an atmosphere of prayer, you are now ready to teach. You should teach not in a doctrinal way but in an experiential way.
Suppose you are teaching a lesson on man’s fallen condition and man’s need of salvation. You should not ask your students merely to remember and recite all the points related to man’s fallen condition. That would be to teach in a doctrinal way. If you would teach in an experiential way, you should help the young people to realize that they themselves are fallen. You may ask them to paint a picture of their own fallen condition, not just to remember a number of doctrinal points. Take, for example, the matter of lying. Concerning this, those in your class should come to realize that, because they were born in sin, there is no need for them to learn how to lie; they lie spontaneously. To teach in this way is to teach not according to doctrine but according to experience.
One of the points in the lesson on man’s need of salvation is that man is under God’s condemnation. Man has sinned by disobeying God’s commandment and thus has come under God’s condemnation. If you teach in a doctrinal way, you will ask questions such as the following: What is God’s commandment? What does it mean to be condemned? What is the significance of being under God’s condemnation? If you would teach in an experiential way, you must help your students to realize that they have sinned by disobeying particular commandments. Furthermore, you should point out to them that often they have disobeyed the demands of their conscience. You may ask them, “Can you say that you have never disobeyed your conscience? If you have disobeyed your conscience, then surely you have sinned.” By speaking to them in this way, you will help them to realize experientially what it means to be under God’s judgment.
Learn in your teaching to touch others experientially. Apply every point of your teaching to their personal, practical situation.
(Teachers' Training, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)