NEVER STOPPING UNTIL ONE RECEIVES
Not only do we have to deal with our sins, and not only do we have to know God, but we need dealings in our environment as well. For example, do you let everything that happens in your family go by freely? If you pray only once and then stop praying because you do not receive God’s answer, you can never expect to know God. Paul surely was not like this. He prayed once, twice, even three times to the Lord until the Lord answered his prayers. If you are only willing to pray once, then you do not need to pray. If God does not answer you the first, second, or third time, you should pray ten times or a hundred times until God speaks to you. Keep in mind that any hastiness is contrary to faith and prayers. Faith is the most enduring thing. If God does not answer, you should be able to wait until you are one hundred years old. Abraham believed in hope in a situation that was against hope. Elisha told King Joash to beat the ground with an arrow. Joash only beat the ground three times, and Elisha said that he could only win the battle over the Syrians three times. If he would have beaten it several times more, he could have destroyed the Syrians (2 Kings 13:14-19). Our prayers should be the same. We cannot stop our prayers at two or three times.
Mr. Usher said that prayers are like putting name cards on a balance. You put one gram of weight on one side and then put the cards one by one on the other side. After the first one or two cards, the other side may not move; perhaps, only after you have added the last card will the weight be offset. Prayer is the same; you have to pray once, twice, three times, again and again. Perhaps by the last time, the prayer will be answered.
Therefore, we have to learn to deal with God. In our physical health, in our work, in our family, in every detail of our environment, we have to ask God to deal with us. I know a sister who is over sixty years old. She said to me that everything she encounters in her environment has something to do with her. I asked her, "Is this really true?" She said, "Yes." I thought that she only said this in her preaching and that the fact might not have been so. Once a brother had a cold, and she wrote to him: "What lesson have you learned from this cold?" I thought that it would be reasonable to learn something if he had a severe disease like intestinal flu. But how could he learn a lesson from a small cold? But this brother received the help. He replied, "I did not normally pay attention to this. By your asking, this matter has come to my attention. I have been dealt with by God, and I have repented."
There was another brother whose relative was sick. This sister again wrote and said, "You have to be responsible for prayer. You should not allow this sickness to go on." Consequently, this brother also received help from her. Once she herself was sick in bed. Her co-worker was away in another place. She was out of money, and her cook also went home for some reason. She prayed continuously, asking God, "Why does this sickness come upon me?", and God showed her that this was not from Him, but this was Satan’s attack. She said, "If this is due to my own problem, I can remain sick. But if this is Satan’s attack, let the sickness be gone." She had been ill for four days with a high fever, but she stood up right after she prayed. At this time she wrote a song: "To the foe my word is always, `No,’ / To the Father it is `Yes.’" We have this song in our hymn book. When she finished writing this song, she went out to work, and her sickness was over.
Wherever she was, she had God’s hand with her. She fully understood Christ’s victory. Once she told me that everything would be all right if we really knew Christ’s victory. I could easily find Colossians 2:14-15 in the Bible, which says that Christ triumphed over everything on the cross, or Hebrews 2:14, which says that through death He destroyed him who has the might of death, or 1 John 3:8, which says that the Son of God was manifested to destroy the works of the devil, or Revelation 12:11, which says that the brothers overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb. But whenever I heard of Christ’s victory from this sister’s mouth, I always felt that with her there seemed to be a special meaning. I did not understand this, and I was bewildered all the time. Once I stayed in her house and was very sick. At that time in addition to my sickness, I was really depressed in my heart because a few matters were still unresolved. She came to see me, and I told her my problems. After every phrase that I spoke, she stared at me and said, "Christ has won the victory." I said that I was not afraid of the outward sickness, but that whenever I thought about the inward problems that were not yet worked out, I broke out in a cold sweat, and I just could not bear it. She still said, "Christ has won the victory." I said, "You cannot say this. To the enemy you can say, `Christ has won the victory.’ To sin, we can trust in the cleansing of the blood. To sickness, we can say that Christ has borne our infirmities. In all these things, we can say that Christ has won the victory. But this is my own fault; I have a problem with God. How can you say Christ has won the victory?" But she still said, "Christ has won the victory." Then she read two verses to me. At that moment I became fully clear inside and out. On that day I realized what Christ’s victory really meant. Prior to this I had only the Bible knowledge. From that day on, I received the real knowledge from God. I also realized that the victory I used to know was a weapon of reed and that it was useless. On that day I realized how much Christ’s victory includes. Whether it be the enemy, sin, sickness, or personal business, Christ’s victory covers them all. She knew Christ’s victory through her repeated experience of God’s dealings. She knew God, so she was able to help others.
Today many believers have not paid enough attention to Bible knowledge. Let me ask you: which book from among the sixty-six books of the Bible do you really know? It is a pity that most of today’s Christians do not even understand one book in the Bible. But more pitiful than this is the fact that they are ignorant about the knowledge of God. If you want to know God, you have to deal with God concerning your body, your family, and your environment. You should not let anything go by carelessly. You have to pray until you have God’s answer. By doing this you will learn a lesson which the Bible alone cannot teach you. If you do this you will know the next time that you have to deal with God in everything. If you learn this time after time, you will really know God.
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 10: The Present Testimony (3), Chapter 13, by Watchman Nee)