VI. DO YOU KEEP YOUR REPENTING PRAYER CONTINUOUSLY?
Repenting prayer is a particular kind of prayer which we must keep continuously. If there is any prayer without repenting, that prayer is nearly in vain. Medical doctors tell us that we should always wash our hands before eating. In the same way, we should not pray without repenting. Praying without repenting is like eating without washing our hands. Even if we do not lose our temper or speak evil words, we are still sinful. So when we come to pray, to take the spiritual food, we have to wash our hands, and to wash our hands is to repent. We should say, “Lord, I still need Your forgiveness, and I still need Your cleansing with Your precious blood.” Then we can pray. After our hands are washed, we can eat.
We all need some particular time to repent so that we can pray. The degree to which we can pray depends upon the degree to which we have repented. Daniel, in his book, has set up a good example. In Daniel 9 we see that he made a long repentance and confession when he prayed. While he was praying and confessing, he received a revelation of the seventy weeks, but Daniel 9 is mostly occupied with his confession. He repented and confessed not only for himself but also for his people and for his forefathers. So quite often when you repent for yourself, you have to repent for the church. Do not forget the church, because you are one with the church. If you are dirty, surely your church is dirty.
If you ask me how many times we should repent and confess, my answer is that the number of times is countless. We need to repent and confess throughout the day and every day. In a general way, we should first pray, “Lord, I still need Your forgiveness of grace. I still need Your cleansing with Your blood. Lord, particularly, I need Your forgiveness for my not walking strictly in the Spirit for the whole day.” This is a particular confession. Sometimes at the end of the day, I can recall that I was not in the Spirit in certain matters. Romans 8:4 says that the righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in those who walk according to spirit. Do you have the assurance that all day you do everything in the Spirit? I must tell you that no one can do this. But you can pray a prayer of repentance. No one can always keep his hands thoroughly clean, but he can wash his hands. We need a continuous washing in the precious blood of Christ (1 John 1:7).
A number of Christians think that as long as they believe in the Lord everything will be all right. They believe that Christ is their righteousness regardless of what sinful and worldly things they do. Such Christians, needless to say, are very loose and unhealthy. They have never seen, especially in the New Testament, that there will be a time of discipline for the loose Christians. The New Testament says that the unfaithful, loose Christians, at the Lord’s coming back, will be cast into outer darkness (Matt. 8:12; 25:30). Some may wonder how we believers who have been saved could be thrown into outer darkness. If we are walking, living, and behaving ourselves in darkness today, how could we hope that in the coming age the Lord will bring us directly into glory? The Bible is not a sugar-coated book. It is full of warnings. The book of Hebrews has five big warnings (2:1-4; 3:7—4:13; 5:11—6:20; 10:19-39; 12:1-29). We need to be vitalized so that we can be brought on to maturity to receive the Lord’s reward in the next age instead of His discipline. This is why we have to keep our repenting prayer continuously.
VII. HAVE YOU AND YOUR COMPANION MADE A NAME LIST OF ALL YOUR POSSIBLE CANDIDATES?
You and your companion need to make a name list of all your possible gospel candidates.
VIII. HAVE YOU ALL PRAYED FOR YOUR CANDIDATES AND RECEIVED THE LORD’S LEADING CONCERNING WHOM YOU SHOULD CONTACT?
We need to pray for our candidates and receive the Lord’s leading concerning whom we should contact. Then we need to carry out the Lord’s leading by going to contact these ones.
(The Training and the Practice of the Vital Groups, Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)