Lessons on Prayer, by Witness Lee

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As a man of prayer, your living must be consistent, or must correspond, to what you pray. Someone may be asking the Lord for the revival of the church or the salvation of a sinner, yet his living is utterly inconsistent with his prayer. He does not live a life that contributes to the revival of the church, nor does he live in a condition that is conducive to bringing sinners to salvation. Although he may be praying, he is not a man of prayer. A man of prayer not only performs the action of prayer but also lives the life of prayer—his living is prayer. Many times we pray for a number of things, but, after praying, we do not live according to the standard of life required by those things. This means we go through the motions of prayer, but we are not men of prayer.

Therefore, brothers, please remember, inwardly speaking, prayer is our life, and outwardly speaking, prayer is our living. Prayer is neither a thing nor a work. Of course, in a sense, prayer is a work, but your being must be in the prayer and even must be the prayer. For example, a brother may pray asking God to revive the church. While he was asking God to revive the church, his words were altogether in earnest: his tears came down, and you, praying there with him, could really sense his seriousness and also feel that he was fully burdened. Yet, unexpectedly, after the prayer he rose and went to watch a movie. Do you think he is a man of prayer? Of course, I do not mean that after praying we all need to pretend by having a gloomy and sad countenance; the Lord Jesus told us that we should not do that. When you fast and pray you still need to anoint your head—it is useless to pretend. The point is this: real prayer has a condition; that is, if you want to have real prayers, your living should be in accordance with those prayers. There is no way for anyone to believe that your heart is really bearing the burden of the church if, as soon as prayer is over, you can go to watch a movie. Your living does not correspond to your prayer. If you are a man of prayer, your living will definitely be absolutely one with your prayer. Your living is your prayer. The life within is a life of prayer, and the living without is a living of prayer; thus you are a man of prayer.

Some may tell you that prayer needs faith. But faith is not something you can have just because you want it. Actually speaking, faith is a function that emanates from God within us. If you are one who abides in God, lives in Him, and allows Him to have standing in you, then God in you issues forth a function which is faith. Faith does not come from you. We can almost say that faith is God Himself, just like power is God Himself. Only when a person is filled with God is he filled with power. Likewise, only a person who is filled with God is full of faith. It is useless, therefore, to merely exhort people to have faith. If I preach a hundred messages telling you that you need to have faith, you still will not have faith. If you really want to have faith, you need to be a man of prayer who lives in God, is being dealt with by Him, is willing to yield to His demands, and who gives permission to His strippings. When He thus has place in you, then He is the faith in you. When He fills you with Himself, you are full of faith. You do not need to strive to believe nor compel yourself to believe, but you surely can believe. For within you there is a God to Whom you pray, and He is the very God Who fills you and moves you to pray—He has become your faith. Please remember, at this time, you know with assurance that your prayer is acceptable to Him, is of Him, is touching Him, and therefore He cannot help but answer your prayer. This is faith. Faith does not come according to your wish. Rather, it is God in you filling you to such an extent that you cannot help but have faith. May the brothers and sisters not only learn how to pray, but by the grace of the Lord, be men of prayer.

(Lessons on Prayer, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)