HAVING A TIME OF READING AND PRAYING IN THE MORNING
There is a real need, especially for the new and young believers who have not been built up in this way, to daily spend some time with the Lord, at least half an hour a day. I would recommend that you have a morning time, but if that is not convenient, you can use other times. The best time, however, is the morning. If possible, you must build up such a habit to spend at least half an hour to be with the Lord every day. Make this your top regulation. During this time simply read the word, understanding it spontaneously, but mostly spending your time in prayer. Do not try to read too much, and do not try to understand too much. Rather, always spend more and more time in prayer. I do not mean that you should bring many items to the Lord. Instead, simply pray according to what you understand. As to your needs, leave that to the Lord’s care. We have the promise that if we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, our Father will take care of whatever we need (Matt. 6:33). You have to stand on this promise. Simply seek the Lord Himself; seek His kingdom, and seek His righteousness. Then forget about your need, or rather, leave your need to His care.
We need to spend time to read, to understand, and to pray over the word. By doing this, we will absorb the Lord into us and apply the word to ourselves in a living way. Then we will be nourished by the Lord Himself. The commandment that we receive will be the Lord Himself, and it will be an easy thing for us to do. To love our husband will be easy. It will be spontaneous. It will not be a burden or a mere commandment; it will be an enjoyment. We will enjoy the Lord to love our husband. It will not be we but the Lord who loves our husband through us.
We must learn to change our way to read the word. Fifteen years ago I did not dare to tell this to people. Today, however, I have the full assurance that this is the right way. Do not say this is too slow or that it will take twenty years to finish the whole Bible. Leave that to the Lord. With this way, we will know the word better and more deeply, and we will enjoy it in a richer and more living way. When will we finish reading the Bible? Leave this to the Lord. Simply come to the word day by day. Do not ask, “When will I exhaust all the riches of America?” We cannot finish eating all the riches. They are too rich. Simply take care of your nourishment. Be nourished that you may grow and be strong. In the same principle, learn to spend at least half an hour with the Lord daily. During this half hour, do not pray for something else, such as the church, the gospel, the work, or the service. Forget about everything else. We need to first feed on the Lord through the word, taking the word as life and food. We need to learn how to practice reading in this living way.
I have no assurance that we all practice this. Therefore, I am still concerned. Would you promise yourself and the Lord that from today you will practice this kind of reading, spending half an hour every day with the Lord to open His word, read, understand something, and put it into prayer, the more the better? If we are open to the Lord in this way, the Holy Spirit will inspire us to pray, and He will give us the living utterance to pray. Then whatever we pray will be our nourishment. It is by this kind of prayer that we will absorb the Lord into us and apply the word as our spiritual nourishment that enables us to grow.
SINGING HYMNS THAT FIT THE SCRIPTURES
Sometimes we need to sing something. This is why we need the hymns. For the proper Christian life, there is the need not only for the Bible but for a hymnal. That is why we have spent much time in the preparation of our hymnal with one thousand eighty hymns. I would encourage the church to learn one or two new hymns in every meeting. Then we should spend time to sing them, privately or with two to six others. Every time after reading and praying, it is right to sing the hymns. We should sing them not merely in a musical way according to the regulations of singing, but from our spirit. We should sing the hymns spiritually. If we learn the hymns, we can select those that fit the meaning of certain Scriptures. Then we can use a proper hymn to fit our situation. To sing in this way will stir up our spirit. Therefore, I am in much anticipation for the completion of our hymnal. It will be a great help to us.
I would encourage the brothers and sisters to practice two things, which strictly speaking are one. First, we should spend half an hour with the Lord daily, not to pray for our needs, the church, the gospel, or the work, but to feed on His word. Then second, every time we feed on the word we should sing a proper hymn that matches our prayer, our understanding, and our feeding. We should practice these two things daily.
(Practical Lessons on the Experience of Life, Chapter 13, by Witness Lee)