PRAYING TO FIGHT THE SPIRITUAL WARFARE
Whenever there is a problem or a need, we may declare a fast among the whole church, whether for one meal or for a whole day. The whole church must go to the Lord and pray. There is no other way to solve the problems, to have the Lord’s guidance, and to bring the Lord’s people into spiritual reality. I can testify regarding this. For many years even up until this day, the elders in the church in Taipei have come together a number of times each week. Only one such time is to take care of the saints’ affairs; all the rest are simply to pray, mostly early in the morning. When they come together, they do not discuss anything. They simply start to pray. They do this several times a week for every week of the year.
The aspect of the church that the enemy, Satan, fears the most is the prayer of the church. Brother Andrew Murray said that whenever the church kneels down to pray, Satan trembles. Satan trembles at the church’s prayer. The practice of the church is not merely a temporary, human matter on the earth. The practice of the church is spiritual, and it affects the spiritual world very much. It involves a real warfare. The Lord told us clearly that He would build His church and that the gates of Hades would not prevail against it. This indicates that whenever and wherever there is the building up of the church, there is the activity of the gates of Hades against it. We know this, and we have experienced this. Therefore, there is the need of a fighting prayer; there is the need for some to pray to fight the spiritual battle.
PRACTICAL DETAILS CONCERNING PRAYER
Here we may point out some practical details concerning the prayer of the church. In order to have a prayer life, especially a corporate prayer life, the prayer life of the church, we must learn to consecrate ourselves. If we have never consecrated ourselves to the Lord, it is impossible to have a real church life. If we are going to have prayer as our life, we must first go to the Lord, telling Him, “Lord, here I am. I consecrate and offer to You my whole being, my whole person, without any kind of reservation.” We must have the definite consecration of our whole being, and every time we pray, we must take this basic standing, saying, “Lord, we come to pray on the ground of consecration.”
Second, we must confess our sins. We must deal with our sins and our conscience, making our conscience void of offense, pure, good, and right. In dealing in this way, we must apply the Lord’s blood. In my own experience, whenever I go to the Lord, I spend much time to clear my conscience so that I can pray. I sense the need of the cleansing and covering of the Lord’s blood. Even when I come to pray with the brothers, I pray, “Lord, cleanse us with Your precious blood.” In many places, however, the brothers I pray with fail to practice this. Sometimes I question, “Am I the most sinful one?” First John 1:5-9 says that God is light, and that if we have fellowship with Him, we walk in the light, and the issue of our being in the light is that we sense the need of the application of the cleansing of the blood of the Son of God. To be sure, when we are in the light, that is, in the presence of God, we will say, “Lord, forgive me and cleanse me with Your precious blood.” We need to confess, deal with sins, and deal with our conscience.
Third, after we take the ground of consecration, and after we confess all our sins and deal with our conscience, we have peace, clarity, and transparency in our conscience. Then we must thoroughly learn the lesson to pray not according to what we know, what we remember, what we desire, or what we think but simply to pray according to the inner anointing. This is essential for individual prayer as well as for corporate prayer. Moreover, we should not care about our sentences or grammar. We may simply pray in broken sentences and broken language.
Fourth, we should never try to correct or convince others in prayer. Rather, we should be transparent and transcendent. We should not touch earthly differences, but be transcendent. In our prayer we should not “take a car” to drive among the situations; we should rather “take the airplane” and fly above them. We should never try to convert, convince, or correct others in prayer. This is not real prayer, and it does not work.
(Basic Principles for the Practice of the Church Life, Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)