THE INTERCESSION OF THE MEMBERS
Many of us have the experience that when we are dry and have no way to go on, we need other brothers and sisters to intercede for us before we can get through. Once I was sick for one hundred seventy-six days. I prayed for my own sickness every day, but it did not work. When I became exhausted, I asked a brother whom I did not think too highly of to pray for me. Amazingly, I received help from his intercession, and my condition became better within a short period of time. Brother Holz is known for his prayer life. When he was a missionary in China, he often asked a young brother to pray with him. Even if the young brother had nothing to say, it was still a help to him when the young brother sat in the room. Brothers and sisters, please remember that this is the supply of the Body. The supply of the Body of Christ is a reality. You cannot get through in many things no matter how much you struggle. But once you give the matter to the Body, the problem is solved. This is the supply of the Body of Christ.
In the years after 1930, many places in China experienced the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, especially around Shantung province. At that time I had been saved for about ten years. I desired to have the outpouring, but I could not experience it. Later I went to Chefoo and asked the brothers and sisters there to pray for me. Not long afterwards, I received the outpouring. There was a brother in England who had the knowledge of victory in Christ, but he was unable to overcome a certain sin. A few brothers and I prayed for him, and he overcame. I can mention dozens of examples which show the effect of the Body’s intercession. The prayer of the Body renders the life supply to members in need. God dispenses the life supply to His members through many other members. If the finger wants the supply of the blood, it has to receive it through the shoulder and the arm. Similarly, as members in the Body, we receive our supply through the other members. Therefore, it is foolish to try to separate ourselves from the other members.
LIVING IN THE BODY OF CHRIST
What are the eyes, ears, hands, and feet? They are Christ Himself. The Head is Christ, and the Body is also Christ. Each member is a part of the life of Christ. If I refuse the help of my fellow-members, I am refusing the help of Christ. If I am not willing to acknowledge my need of them, I am not willing to acknowledge my need of Christ. Just as I cannot be independent from the Head, I cannot be independent from the Body. Individualism is hateful in the sight of God. What I do not know, another member of the Body will know; what I cannot see, another member of the Body will see; what I cannot do, another member of the Body will do. Therefore, I must allow the other members of the Body to minister to my needs. We must avail ourselves constantly of the fellowship of the Body, for it is our very life.
In the Old Testament, being out of the fellowship was the most severe punishment that could be visited upon the children of Israel. They "shall be cut off from his people." This is very serious. If it were God’s intention for us to live as individuals, we could progress perfectly well apart from one another. However, He has made us members of His Body; therefore, we cannot possibly grow apart from one another.
We have to see the reality of the supply in the Body of Christ, and we have to learn to live in the Body and to receive the supply in the Body. In the Old Testament the lampstand was placed in the sanctuary. In order for a man to see light, he had to enter the sanctuary. In the New Testament the sanctuary is the church. If a man wants to see light, he has to come to the church. In the church meetings and among the brothers and sisters, God’s light is much stronger than in individuals. Today God’s sanctuary is the church; God Himself dwells in the church. Hence, His light is in the church. A man can only see light if he comes to the church. Everything that Christ has is in His Body. He is a foolish man who claims that he can be a Christian alone. Sooner or later, all individual Christians will dry up. As long as we live in the Body, we will receive the supply of the Body, no matter what our condition is. Every member should learn to treasure the supply of the Body and to treasure every member. We must all learn to live in the Body, that is, we must all learn to live in the supply of the Body.
(The Mystery of Christ, Chapter 4, by Watchman Nee)