I. THE PRINCIPLE OF GOD’S WORK
[When God works, He does so with specific law and definite principle. Even though He could do whatever pleases Him, yet He never acts carelessly. He always performs according to His determinate law and principle. Unquestionably, He can transcend all these laws and principles, for He is God and is quite capable of acting according to His own pleasure. Nonetheless, we discover a most marvelous fact in the Bible, which is, that in spite of His exceeding greatness and His ability to operate according to His will, God ever acts along the line of the law or principle which He has laid down. It seems as though He deliberately puts Himself under the law to be controlled by His own law.]
Do you know the principle of God’s work? As in mathematics and science, once people understand a given principle they can achieve predictable and consistent results every time. The law of gravity, Newton’s law, and E=MC2 are examples of such principles. If you know the principle of God’s work, you will pray much to cause God to work. We know that God’s ultimate work is to build the church. There are many steps required to achieve this goal, such as our friends’ salvation, reading the Word and prayer, coming to meetings, etc. What principle does God use to accomplish His work? There are seven steps to His principle.
The first step is that God has a will to do something. The second step is that God reveals His will to man through His Word by His Spirit. The third step is that God’s church responds to His will by agreeing with it in prayer. The fourth step is that God accomplishes the thing that He wills. The fifth step is that we go and reap the accomplished work. The sixth step is to give God thanks. The seventh step is to enjoy the accomplished work together with God and the church.
II. THE PRAYER MINISTRY OF THE CHURCH—BINDING AND LOOSING WHAT HAS BEEN BOUND AND LOOSED IN HEAVEN
[We have already mentioned how God has His will concerning all things, but that He will do nothing by Himself alone and independently. He will take action only after the free will on earth responds to His will. Were there only the will in heaven, God would make no move; the heavenly move will be accomplished on earth only when He is assured of the same will on earth. This is what we today call the ministry of the church. Believers need to realize that the ministry of the church does not consist merely of the preaching of the gospel—it most certainly does include this, let there be no mistake of that—but also the church’s ministry includes the bringing down to the earth the will that is in heaven. But exactly how does the church bring this about? It is by praying on earth. Prayer is not a small, insignificant, non-essential thing as some would tend to think. Prayer is a work. The church says to Him, “God, we want Your will.’’ This is called prayer. After the church knows the will of God, she opens her mouth to ask for it. This is prayer. If the church does not have this ministry, she is not of much use on earth.
Many devotional prayers, prayers of fellowship, and prayers of request cannot be a substitute for prayer as ministry or work. If all our prayers are simply devotional or merely consist of fellowshipping and asking, our prayer is too small. Prayer as work or ministry means that we stand on God’s side, desiring what He desires. To pray according to God’s will is a most powerful thing. For the church to pray signifies that she has discovered God’s will and is now voicing it. Prayer is not only asking God, it is also the making of a declaration. As the church prays, she stands on God’s side and declares that what man wants is what He wants. If the church should so declare, the declaration will be at once effectual.]
(Lesson Book, Level 5: The Church—The Vision and Building Up of the Church, Chapter 18, by Witness Lee)