V. DEALINGS OF LIFE
It is very hard to always maintain our life before the Lord in a trouble-free condition. Usually, and unconsciously, our life within incurs some problems. Once this happens, immediately we are not able to pray. For example, you may have a controversy with the Lord regarding a certain matter. You refuse to obey the Lord’s will. Rather, you insist on acting according to your own will. Once such a controversy exists, there is a problem in your life, and you cannot pray. Even if you do pray, your prayers are not real. You must resolve this controversy by saying to the Lord, “Lord, I will let You win again in this matter. I am willing to be defeated by You.” At this point the prayer in you can be restored.
It is not only controversies that cause problems in life. Even speaking a few unnecessary words in our daily life can affect our prayer. Hence, we must deal strictly with all the things that may affect our prayer. We must always adjust the condition of our inner life.
Nothing restricts and controls man more severely than prayer. If you do not pray for a week, you will surely be very far from the Lord and become completely loose. One who prays much every day is, without question, fully restricted. You may do as you please in everything but prayer. For example, the Lord’s teaching shows us that when we pray we need to forgive others. Whenever we do not forgive others, we cannot pray. It is because of this that some, at times, have been unable to pray. Although they may sometimes speak words of prayer, they know very well that they are not really before the throne of God. They know that there is a separation, a distance, between them and God, for they have not been able to forgive their brother. This means their life has incurred some problem. Hence, you need to learn the lessons of prayer by dealing with your inner life. You will notice that you not only will be able to learn a great deal in prayer, but you will have daily growth in life. No other activity requires the supply of life more than prayer. Neither is there anything else that can cause a Christian to grow faster than prayer.
VI. LIVING IN LIFE
To learn to pray, we must learn first to continually live in life and not depart from it. We need to follow the consciousness of life and live in the fellowship of life. Whenever we depart from life, we have no way to pray. Those who pray the most and who are the most thorough and weighty in prayer are those who continually live in life. The lesson of prayer is absolutely a spiritual matter, a matter of life. Regardless how much you have learned, it always involves the spirit and revolves around life. All the lessons of life are here in the spirit. Therefore, if we wish to learn the lessons of prayer, we need to be one who lives in life.
For example, let us consider a gospel meeting in the church. When you attend such a meeting there are several possibilities. You may feel that since this is the church preaching the gospel, it is imperative that you, as a brother or sister serving God, participate. Therefore you attend the meeting. Another possibility may be that the elders keep telling you that this gospel preaching really needs you, and it is imperative that you come. Then, feeling you have no choice, you come. Please remember, these are not examples of living in life. And since your reason for attending is not in life, you are not able to offer much prayer for this matter. The situation should be such that in your spirit you feel very much concerned for the gospel preaching. Then, spontaneously, you will be able to pray. Hence, brothers, in order to pray you need to learn to live in life in every matter.
The same is true concerning the relationships you have with the brothers and sisters. You may have various reasons to maintain your relationship with the brothers and sisters. But unless those reasons are in life, they can never cause you to pray for the brothers and sisters. You and I need to learn severe lessons and condemn anything that is not life. How do you know what is of life? You have to ask whether there is prayer or not. If your relationship with the brothers and sisters is of life, you will pray a great deal. It is not because the brothers or sisters ask you to pray for them. It is because your relationship with them is of life, so you cannot keep from praying for them. If it is not of life, even if you intend to pray, you will not feel the urgency in your inner being. Hence, you will simply forget it after a time.
Therefore, please remember: where life is, there is prayer; where life is not, there is no prayer. If we do not live in life, even our prayer for our relatives cannot last long. We can only pray once, and that is all. Only in life can there be the real, lasting prayers.
(Lessons on Prayer, Chapter 14, by Witness Lee)