Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 13: The Spiritual Man (2), by Watchman Nee


In spiritual warfare, a believer does not always attack the enemy because he forgets the principle of the cooperation of the spirit and the mind. Therefore, he waits for "God’s burden." He thinks that he does not have the "sense" to fight and should wait until he has such a sense before attacking the enemy with prayers. If he would merely pray according to his mind for a while, the sense in the spirit will immediately respond. We already know how wicked the evil spirit is and how he damages both the Lord’s children and worldly people. We also clearly know that we should oppose him by prayer to speed him to the abyss. Since this is our realization, we should not wait for a sense in the spirit to pray. Even though we have no feelings, we have to pray. We should first use our mind to initiate the prayer, using words which we know curse the evil spirit; then our spirit will move, and the words with which we have cursed him will be backed up by the power of the spirit. In the morning, for example, the Holy Spirit may grant us a considerable anointing in the spirit to curse the evil spirit, but by noontime we may have lost this anointing. What should we do then? We must apply our mind to act in the same way that our spirit acted in the morning. This is a spiritual principle. What has been obtained in the spirit must be guarded and applied by the mind.


It is the same with the faith of rapture. In the beginning we acquired "the spirit of rapture," but before long we may feel as if our spirit is empty, as if we do not have any sense concerning the imminence of the Lord’s coming and the reality of our rapture. At this time we should remember the principle of the mind cooperating with the spirit. We should pray with the mind in the absence of a sense in the spirit. If we simply expect our spirit to be filled again with the sense of rapture, we will not acquire it. We have to consider and pray according to what we know in our mind, then what we acquired previously will fill our spirit.


This principle must not be forgotten in the spreading of God’s truth. We know that the truths we learned in the old days are just stored in our brain. If we impart them to people only from our mind, there will not be any spiritual effect. In the beginning we no doubt knew these truths in the spirit, but now it seems as if the spirit has faded and there is only the memory. What should we do to have our spirit once again filled with these truths in order to spread these truths to others from our spirit? We can do nothing except exercise our mind. We should reconsider these truths and pray again before God, using these truths as the center. Before long, we will be filled again in our spirit as before. The truths were originally acquired in the spirit and preserved in our mind. Now because of our prayer according to the mind, they reenter our spirit. In this way we are able to once again proclaim the truths which we have known in our spirit.


We all know that intercession is a very crucial matter. We often have time for intercession but do not have the inspiration of the spirit. We do not know what we should pray for. This does not mean that we do not need to intercede and can vainly spend our time for other purposes. Rather, it means that we should use our mind to intercede, hoping to stimulate the collaboration of the spirit. Hence, at this moment we should exercise our mind to consider whether our friends, family, and co-workers have any need. When we think of a need, we should intercede for it. If the spirit within us still remains cold, we should realize that He does not want us to pray for that matter. It may occur to us that the church in our locality has some deficiencies, that the churches in all the localities are in the midst of some temptation, that the Lord’s work in certain areas is hindered, or that God’s children have a need of some particular truth. Once we think of a certain item, we should intercede for it. If our spirit still does not respond after a while, and we are still praying with our mind, we should realize that the Lord does not want us to pray for this matter either. If there is the anointing of the Holy Spirit as we are praying for another matter and the sense of our spirit also responds, we should know that we have touched and prayed for the appropriate item. The principle that we should use is of the mind assisting the spirit to locate its inclination. Sometimes we only need to use our mind to consider a little, and the spirit responds; sometimes, however, we have to wait for a while before the spirit agrees with us, because our mind is too narrow, and we may not quickly realize through the spirit what the Holy Spirit delights in. Sometimes God desires to enlarge the scope of our prayers; He desires us to pray for the nation so that all of Satan’s work behind the scenes will fail. He may want us to pray for all the sinners in the world or for the whole church. If our mind is only set on the present, it will take some time before these things occur to us and for us to arrive at the prayer in which the Holy Spirit is in one accord with the mind. After we have obtained the cooperation of the sense of the spirit, we should pour out all the burdens of the spirit for this matter. We should pray for the various aspects of this matter in a detailed and adequate way until our spirit is unloaded. Then we can continue to intercede for other items.

This is one of the principles in our spiritual life. Whatever new prayers God gives to us, we obtain them in our spirit. But after a period of time, we cannot expect God to fill our spirit with this new prayer again. We have to continue praying with our mind, regardless of our feelings. Eventually we will obtain this prayer again in our spirit.

(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 13: The Spiritual Man (2), Chapter 10, by Watchman Nee)