VII. THE INFLUENCES ON THE HEART
Influences on our heart come from the four parts which constitute the heart. If one has a problem in his conscience, his heart is affected. If there is accusation in the conscience, surely there will be condemnation in the heart. In the same manner, if one’s mind is perverted and improper, his heart becomes unreasonable. It may be plainly six, yet he would say it is eight. Such unreasonableness issues from an unregulated mind, and an unregulated mind can affect the heart. Not only so, if one loves many things other than God in his emotions, it will also affect the heart. Also, if a man’s will is so stubborn that he never reconsiders once he has made a decision, this also affects the heart, making it hard. For instance, someone may be moved by the gospel he has heard, but since he has already determined that there is no place for God in his ambitious plans, he remains stubbornly unchanged. Thus, his heart becomes very hard.
Please remember, therefore, in order to have a proper heart, the conscience, the mind, the emotion, and the will need to be dealt with adequately. If there is offense in the conscience, it is inevitable that there will be condemnation in the heart. If the mind becomes irrational, the heart will surely be improper. Similarly, if the emotion has its private desires, then the heart certainly will not be able to love God. And if the will is stubborn and unchanging, the heart will surely become hard.
The influences over the heart are the influences over the soul and the spirit. Therefore, the heart represents our whole being. To have a proper heart, we need to deal thoroughly with all the parts of the soul and the spirit. On the other hand, if our heart is right, then our whole being is right. If there is no condemnation in the heart, there is no accusation in the conscience. Once the heart is set right, the mind is spontaneously regulated. If the heart absolutely loves God, then the emotion is surely proper. At the same time, if the heart is soft and not one bit hard, then there is no problem with the will. Hence, a man can only be right when his heart is right.
VIII. THE HEART AND PRAYER
When a man’s heart is true, pure, without condemnation, and illuminated, being normal in every aspect, he is able to pray. The heart and prayer are absolutely related. Although the spirit is the organ for prayer, one still cannot pray unless his heart has been dealt with properly. And even if he could pray, he would not be able to believe that God would answer. As long as there is a problem with the heart, it is not possible to pray.
As there is such an intimate relationship between the heart and prayer, it can almost be said that if you would just deal with your heart, that, in itself, is almost as good as prayer. Then all you need to do is to cry out to God a little. Many times our prayers do not have much weight or value. The main reason is because our hearts are not proper. First John 3:19 through 22 tells us that if our heart condemns us not, we have boldness toward God, and whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him. Therefore, it is necessary to deal with the heart in order that our prayers may have weight and standing.
IX. THE HEART FOR PRAYER
The heart for prayer is a heart that is truthful and pure, not bent, false, or doubting. It seeks God alone and nothing else. It is also without condemnation or offense. It is also a heart turned to God, aiming only at Him. It is further an illuminated heart which is full of light and is in the light of God’s face. Finally, it is a heart that is under the proper influence of the various parts. One who prays needs such a heart for prayer.
(Lessons on Prayer, Chapter 10, by Witness Lee)