Lessons on Prayer, by Witness Lee

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The Holy Spirit coming to man and entering into man is not just for the infilling and the outpouring. It is also for Him to become the indwelling words of God. If God’s coming to man is merely His coming, with no words, there would be no way for man to understand His intention. There is no way His intention can be explained without words. Suppose someone comes into my home, but he does not say a word. That would be quite difficult for me. John 14:17 says that when the Spirit comes, He enters into us; 15:4 says that we abide in the Lord, and the Lord also abides in us. Then, verse seven says, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you…” Here the Lord becomes the words and explanation in us.

Likewise, in Colossians it says that our giving thanks and our praises are due to the word of the Lord. In Ephesians it says that we thank and praise due to the Spirit. If there is only the filling of the Spirit but there is no word, how can you have psalms and hymns? You cannot, for there is only the stirring but not the explanation. For example, this morning I may feel the need to pray, but there is no word or explanation in me telling me what to pray for or how to pray. The best I could do would be to weep or to shout a few hallelujahs. I could not pray thoroughly.

Hence, the Spirit that comes to us must become the explanation in us. Once it becomes the explanation, it is the word. The Gospel of John tells us clearly that the words which the Lord speaks to us are spirit. When the Spirit in us causes us to understand, then it is the word. Sometimes we may have inspiration inside, but we cannot understand because the Spirit has not yet become words and there is a lack of explanation. Then, one day He explains it to us, that is, the Spirit becomes the word. Then, and only then, can we understand His intention.

One who ministers the Word usually has this experience: when he is about to stand up to speak a word, he feels he has the inspiration and the burden within him. However, he still does not know specifically what he should speak. Then, as he stands and speaks, he has an inner sense, and the more he speaks the clearer he becomes. The Spirit within has become the word. The same is true with prayer. For example, someone waking in the morning may feel the burden to pray, but he does not know for what he should pray. He thus goes before God, and as he prays, he tries to sense his inner feeling. As a result, the inner consciousness becomes the word, and the word is then expressed. One sentence comes forth, and the next one follows immediately. After the prayer is finished, the inner burden has been discharged. This means the Spirit has become the word.

Real prayers, therefore, are the outcome of God’s moving within us. This moving is carried out through the Spirit, and the Spirit needs to become the word, the explanation. Thus, we are able to express our prayers.


Explanation is an inward understanding, whereas expression is an outward declaration. Every true prayer is just like a weighty message, all the words of prayer being the expression of the Spirit. It can almost be said that the words of prayer are the very Spirit. No wonder the Lord Jesus said His words are spirit. For whatever He speaks, it is the expression of the Spirit. In principle, our prayers should be the same.

In prayer we have often really touched the spirit, enjoyed the Lord’s presence very much, and had the anointing of the ointment. At other times we would have to admit that our prayer was not so good. The more we prayed, the more dry and dead we were inside. The more we prayed, the fewer words we had. Where does the difference between these two conditions lie? The basic issue is: while we were praying, did the Spirit come to us and explain God’s intention to us? If we have such an explanation, then we can express it accordingly. Thus, the more we pray, the more we are inspired. The more we pray, the more we have the anointing. The more we pray, the more we touch the spirit, and the fresher and livelier we are. For in that prayer the Spirit comes forth with the words that we express. On the contrary, at other times there may be no moving of the Spirit while we pray, and thus our words are not the expression of the Spirit. Then it is simply we ourselves speaking, and such a prayer will spontaneously be dried up.

Real prayers are the result of God’s moving in us. God’s moving starts with the Spirit first coming to us and then going a step further to become the explanation. The explanation is the word. Once the words are present in our consciousness, they must be expressed. When we speak forth those words, that is prayer.

(Lessons on Prayer, Chapter 12, by Witness Lee)