VI. PRAYER IS THE EXPRESSION OF GOD’S INTENTION
Every proper prayer is also man speaking forth the intention of God. Yes, it is you who are speaking, but it is God Who is expressing His heart’s intent. Your words are the expression of God’s intention. For example, you may pray, “O God, forgive me of my sins.” This word expresses God’s desire to forgive you of your sins. Therefore, true prayers do not express our ideas; rather, they express God’s intention through our utterance.
We have said earlier that every prayer which measures up to the standard is not initiated by man but by God. This initiation means that God anoints His intention into man. After man receives this intention, he converts it into words and utters them to God. This is prayer. Therefore, when you pray for the salvation of your relatives and friends, if your prayer is proper, you ought to believe that in the universe God has the intention to save that particular relative or friend of yours. This intention of God could never be expressed or completed by God Himself. This is a law. God desires that all men be saved; this is His intention. But if no one prays for all men, then they cannot be saved. Therefore, unless you pray for your relative or friend and thus express God’s desire, His intention cannot be done, and your relative or friend cannot be saved. Hence, when we go before God to pray, we should not immediately pray according to our own ideas, for this kind of prayer is usually initiated by ourselves and not by God. When we pray we must first be quiet before God, fellowship with Him, and allow Him to anoint His intention into us; thus our prayer can express God’s intention.
VII. PRAYER IS GOD’S INTENTION ENTERING INTO MAN’S INTENTION
Every proper prayer is also the entering of God’s intention into man’s intention. A person who prays this way must be one who regularly draws near to God, allows God to gain him, and lives in God, thus affording God the opportunity to put His desire into him. Originally it was God’s intention, but now it enters into man and becomes man’s inner intent. For example, as mentioned earlier, you may be praying for a certain relative or friend to be saved. While praying you eventually begin to express God’s desire to save that particular person. This could only have occurred because you were one who drew near to God. At a certain point, while you were drawing near to God, God put His intention to save that particular relative or friend into you; thus, His desire became your desire. Therefore, when you prayed for this matter, it was as if you were expressing your desire, but actually it was His very desire being expressed.
For this reason, many times when people requested us to pray for them we could not accept their request because we know that proper prayers before God must not be according to our own decision, but according to the burden which we receive from God when we contact Him and touch Him. Hence, at the outset of our praying, we cannot bring others’ affairs with us and pray for them.
Because of this, before we open our mouth to pray for some matters, we need to have a considerable length of time to open our being before God. No one who knows how to pray can go before God and immediately open his mouth to pray. Rather, he is one who daily carries with him a spirit of prayer, is silent before God, does not say much, and does not have many suggestions. He prays as God’s intentions are anointed into him one by one. Therefore, prayer is also God’s intention entering into man’s intention.
VIII. PRAYER IS GOD’S HEART’S DESIRE PASSING THROUGH MAN AND RETURNING TO GOD
Every proper prayer is uttered not with words conceived in man’s mind but with words issuing from the particular burden within. Where does that burden come from? It comes from the fact that God’s intention is being anointed into us through the Spirit and thus becomes our intention. Based upon this intention and burden which we sense within us, we go before God to pray. Therefore, we can say that our prayer is God’s intention coming out of God, passing through us, and going back again to Him.
(Lessons on Prayer, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)