PRACTICING TO PRAY-READ THE WORD OF GOD
Our coming to the Bible should always be our coming to the Lord Jesus. The Bible should always be one with the Lord. If we do not understand the Bible, we should not be bothered. This does not mean very much. If we do not understand, we may let it go for the present time. We should not be occupied with trying to understand the Bible. We should simply receive it.
When we open to John 1:1, we should not merely read it. We have to utter it by exercising our spirit. We can say, “In the beginning! O Lord, in the beginning. Hallelujah, in the beginning!” To utter something by exercising our spirit makes reading the Bible very different. If someone has never tasted pray-reading, I would beg him to try it. Once you taste it, you will never drop it. You will become “addicted” to pray-reading the Word of God. If you are afraid of losing your face, you can go into your room, close the door, and try it a little bit. Change your way of touching the Bible. Formerly, you may have always touched the Bible by reading it and exercising your mind, but now you must change from this way to exercising your spirit. Before you read, you can loudly say, “O Lord Jesus!” But if you are afraid of losing your face, you can call on the Lord and pray-read softly. I believe that if you try this for ten minutes, you will taste something. You will realize the difference between your former way and this way. You will touch the living Lord, and then you will come to the meeting, jump up, and say, “Hallelujah! Now I know! The words of the Bible are the Spirit! There are many verses that I don’t understand, but I touch the Spirit.”
If we open up the book of Daniel, where there are many puzzling verses, we can still touch the Spirit. Daniel 9:24-27 speaks of seventy weeks, which are divided into seven weeks, sixty-two weeks, and one week. These seventy weeks are very puzzling. However, if we go to this book and say, “O Lord, the seventy weeks. Hallelujah for the first week. I don’t know what a ‘week’ is, but I do know that there is a week. Amen! Praise the Lord for the seven weeks, amen for the sixty-two weeks, and hallelujah for the last week!” In our mind we may not get much, but in our spirit, we will be filled with the Lord as the Spirit (2 Cor. 3:17). This is marvelous! Eventually, we cannot say that we did not get anything in our mind. At the very least, we know that there are seven weeks, sixty-two weeks, and the last week.
Try coming to the Bible in this way. One day the light will come, and we will have the living understanding. At that time, it will not be something taught by others; it will be something enlightened by the Spirit. While we are pray-reading, we may think that we do not understand anything, but later, perhaps the next day, or after two weeks, two months, or even a year, the light will spring up from within us, and we will say, “Now I understand the seventy weeks of Daniel 9.” At such a time our understanding will be something living.
PRAY-READING TO RECEIVE THE DISPENSING OF THE RICHES OF CHRIST
At any time—day or night, morning or evening—we can open up the Bible and pray-read a few verses. When we do, we receive the Spirit. In other words, we receive the riches of Christ. The riches of Christ are unsearchable, unlimited, and unspeakable. No one can tell out all the riches of Christ. Christ is in every chapter and every verse because the Spirit of Christ is in the word.
When we come to pray-read Genesis 1:1, Christ may not seem to be there according to the letter. As we read, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” we may find no direct mention of Christ. However, if we exercise our spirit to pray-read this verse, after a few minutes we will receive something of Christ within. Christ will become so precious within us. Nothing of Christ is mentioned in this verse, yet after pray-reading it, we have the sweet sense and the sweet taste of Christ. It is wonderful that there is something of Christ in every verse and in every word of the Bible.
If we would pray-read chapter by chapter and book by book, week after week, month after month, and year after year, gradually we will receive enlightenment, and all the things of Christ will spring up within us. All the riches of Christ will become our enjoyment. At this time it may be that there is no need for us to open up the Bible because so much of it is within us. Throughout the day, these things within us become our enjoyment of Christ. In this way all the riches of Christ are ministered and dispensed into us. This dispensing will transform us and cause us to have a metabolic change, a change in life. This change comes about because so many heavenly elements of Christ are added into us. These heavenly elements and spiritual ingredients will cause us to have not only an outward change but a metabolic change, a change in life. All these new elements will replace and discharge all the old things. This is a metabolic change, transforming us into a new condition.
A certain brother may have been saved two months ago, and now he is in the church life. However, he may not have much element of the truth within him. He does not have a supply for the church life because the riches of Christ have been dispensed into him only for a short time. He should not be disappointed. Rather, he simply needs to pray-read more. He needs to pray-read day by day, verse after verse, chapter after chapter, and book after book. It is best if he would pray-read ten times a day; this is not too much. If he pray-reads for three months in this way, there will be a metabolic change within him, and he will have the element of Christ within him for the church life. After a time, the church will be enriched by what he is, because the church life is the issue of the enjoyment of Christ, which comes from the dispensing of the riches of Christ.
Paul speaks of pray-reading in Ephesians 6:17-18a, which says, “And receive the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which Spirit is the word of God, by means of all prayer and petition, praying at every time in spirit.” To take the word not by reading only but by means of all prayer is to pray-read. Andrew Murray also said that we must read the word prayerfully. To read the Bible prayerfully is to pray-read. Even from our own experiences we can testify that we pray-read the Word of God without realizing it. We may have read a verse and immediately turned it into a prayer. That was pray-reading. Many of us have done this in the past.
(Enjoying the Riches of Christ for the Building Up of the Church as the Body of Christ, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)