Basic Principles for the Practice of the Church Life, by Witness Lee


The service of a leading one, an elder, a deacon, or a serving one in the church, is firstly a matter of prayer. We must pray concerning the responsibility of the church. All the leading ones must come together to pray. It is hard enough to pray by ourselves, but to ask all the leading ones and serving ones to come together to pray is more difficult. The biggest reason for this is that we do not have the oneness. When the leading ones come together, one comes with his mind, another comes with his thought, another comes with his concept, and everyone else comes with his own idea. Everyone comes trying to convince others, having the intention, desire, and hope to push something each feels is important. This kills the church life, it kills the meeting of the leading ones, and it kills the leading ones’ way to bear responsibility. Then as long as the leading ones’ way to bear responsibility is killed, the entire church life is gone. Therefore, we must learn never to bring something to impose on others. We must always try not to convince others but simply to have the oneness and pray together. Brothers, let us forget our opinion and thought and come together to pray. Let the Lord break through, come in, and speak to us.

I am not speaking something that I do not know. In the past many years I have had many experiences, and I can testify that where there is a group of leading ones who know how to pray in this way, there the church is very strong, prevailing, and living. On the contrary, where there is a group of leading ones who know nothing of this kind of prayer, but who only know to argue a cause, to debate, to fight, and to convince one another, there the church is a dead church. It is shameful that in many dead churches many of the leading ones are very zealous. They are very much for doctrines and teachings, but they are too much for doctrines and teachings. Each one thinks that he is right, knowing more than others. A brother may seem to know something about spiritual matters, but he always insists on what he knows. When he comes together with the leading ones, he always knows the way to convince them all. However, he may not know how to go into the presence of the Lord and how to go to the Lord with others to contact the Lord and let the Lord have the opportunity to speak and reveal something. I am simply speaking what I have seen in the past. This is the biggest problem in the church today.

I advise and even beg those who are the leading brothers of the church first to practice to forget about all the things of the past and come together to pray. If we say that we are going to practice the church life, we should pray about it rather than discuss it. If we open the door to merely discuss the church life, we open the door to let the enemy come in and bring in many opinions and thoughts. The best way to shut the door and shut out all the opinions is to pray. Let us kneel down, not to speak our thoughts or opinions, but to pray and let the Lord speak. However, it may be that very few leading ones do this. Whenever we come together there is always the temptation to discuss. First one brother opens his mouth to speak a small word to express a thought, and then the second, third, fourth, and fifth brothers follow to do the same. Then all the time is gone. Moreover, the more they discuss, the more they are not of one mind. To discuss simply opens the door to the enemy.

(Basic Principles for the Practice of the Church Life, Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)