V. THE CLEANSING OF THE CONSCIENCE
Regardless how much we exercise ourselves to have a good and pure conscience, we still need to cleanse our conscience daily. This is because we are still in the old creation, in the flesh, and in this evil, defiled age. We simply do not know how many times in a single day we have been contaminated and have committed offenses. The defilement and guilt in our conscience can only be washed by the blood of Jesus. This is according to Hebrews 10:22, “having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience.”
The more one prays before God, the more he realizes the necessity of the blood. The realization of our need for the blood is entirely a sense in our conscience. If you do not live much before God or pray much, you will not be able to sense the urgency of the blood. It is when you really live before God that the words in 1 John 1:7-9 will be effectually fulfilled in you. God is light. The more you are in the light, the more you will realize that you have offended a certain person, or that you are wrong in a certain matter. You will also realize that you were defiled when you contacted someone, and you will feel guilty about certain motives and thoughts. You will have all sorts of accusations in your conscience. All these are the offenses of the conscience. At such a time, unless you apply the blood, your conscience will become defiled. The more one prays, draws near to God, and lives in prayer and fellowship, the more he will sense the absolute necessity of the blood. He will be one who always experiences the cleansing of the blood.
Every time a man goes before God, he invariably has to pass through the altar and the blood. According to the type in the Old Testament, everyone who intends to go into the Holy of Holies to draw near to God must first offer the sacrifice and shed the blood at the altar. Then he can bring the blood of the sin offering with him into the Holy of Holies and sprinkle it before God. This means that every time you go before God to pray, your conscience needs to be cleansed by the blood. While we are still in this flesh and in this age, no one can go before God to pray at any time without applying the blood. If, instead of applying the blood, you trust in your own goodness, your conscience will not be able to bear witness with you. There will always be some defilement or guilt in you, and you will always be at fault or not faithful enough in some matter. If you are just a little negligent, there will be the accusation in your conscience, and this accusation will become an offense. Therefore, if you wish to remove the offense in your conscience, you must continually seek the cleansing of the blood.
VI. THE CONSCIENCE AND PRAYER
Hebrews 10:22, 2 Timothy 1:3, and Acts 23:1 show us that the conscience is absolutely related to prayer. One whose conscience is not cleansed cannot pray because there is a separation between him and God. One whose conscience is not pure enough also cannot pray before God. Once there is an accusation or a condemnation in your conscience, you will sense immediately that there is a curtain and a veil as well, in you. The curtain creates a distance, a separation between you and God; whereas the veil puts a cover over you so that you are unable to see God. Not only so, but once the conscience has a problem, it will be difficult to have faith. Once there is a hole in the conscience, faith leaks out. When the conscience is bad, has offense, is not pure enough, or is not being cleansed by the precious blood, one cannot pray before God. You may pray hastily, but you always feel that you are praying outside the curtain and have not entered into the Holy of Holies. Also, you always feel that there is a veil covering your heart. Thus, you cannot see the light of God’s face and you are not in His presence. Your prayer is not getting through to God. It seems that there is a wall of separation or a layer of covering which hinders your prayer from reaching God. Hence, in order to have good, proper prayers, prayers that reach God, you need to deal with your conscience until it becomes good, void of offense, pure, and cleansed. Then, as there is no more condemnation in your conscience, you will be able to pray. Hence, there is an absolute relationship between the conscience and prayer.
VII. THE CONSCIENCE FOR PRAYER
Summing up the previous few points we can see that a conscience for prayer is a good conscience, a conscience void of offense and guilt, a conscience free from accusation. It is also a clean, pure conscience, and a conscience that is always being cleansed by the precious blood. Having such a conscience, when you enter into God’s presence and pray, you will sense that you are before Him, in the light of His face, and without either a separating curtain or a covering veil.
Whenever you go before God to pray you ought to deal with your conscience in a proper, detailed way. After dealing in this way, you can come boldly and pray to God out of a clean, pure conscience—a conscience void of offense, a good conscience. You know that you have passed through the curtain so there is no separation between you and God. You also know that there is no veil, no covering in you. You are in God’s presence, in the light of His face, and there is a free-flowing communion between you and God. At that moment your conscience will enable you to pray boldly, powerfully, and confidently. Your conscience will confirm and support your prayer. Moreover, as there is such a free flow and mingling between you and God, God is able to anoint you with His heart’s desire. Consequently, His desire becomes your desire and His feeling becomes your feeling. He prays in you, and you pray with Him. Therefore, if we wish to pray, we need to have a conscience that will enable us to pray.
(Lessons on Prayer, Chapter 9, by Witness Lee)