II. THE REDEMPTION OF THE CROSS
The more you are a praying one, the more you will feel that you are sinful, and realize the need for redemption. For example, we can see this condition in Daniel. One of his prayers is recorded in Daniel, chapter nine. In that prayer he made very little mention of the thing that he prayed for. On the contrary, most of that prayer was his confession, not only of his own sins, but also those of the whole nation of Israel. He really understood what it means to pray before God by the blood of the sacrifice of the sin offering.
If a brother or sister does not confess sins at all in a prayer, it is doubtful whether he has entered the presence of God. One who has no consciousness of sins is not only outside the Holy Place, but most likely has not even entered the outer court. He is still outside the white linen hangings. Otherwise, he could not refrain from confessing his sins. This is what is spoken of in 1 John, chapter one: God is light, and if we have fellowship with God and dwell in the light, we will inevitably see our own sins and receive the blood of Jesus, the Son of God, to cleanse us.
Real experiences of prayer are just like this. Whenever you come into the presence of God, you need to experience the redemption of the cross and the cleansing of the blood. The more deeply you enter the presence of God, the more you need to experience the redemption of the cross and the cleansing of the blood. The more deeply you enter the presence of God, the keener your consciousness is of sin, and the deeper your knowledge is concerning sin. Some things in the past that you may have considered to be virtues and merits, you now see as sins. At such a time you tell God, “O God, I can only come into your presence to pray under the blood of Your Son and with the blood of Your Son. Otherwise, I can’t even come here, let alone pray.” Always realize that whenever you pray you need to experience the redemption of the cross. Otherwise you are filthy, unclean, and full of offense.
One thing is certain: if the Spirit is going to pray through you concerning an important matter, He will first come to enlighten you and to purge your being. Whenever the Spirit is going to bring you into prayer with Him, He needs to purify you once more. And His purification is to first show you your sins and trespasses, and then lead you to receive the cleansing of the blood. Under the precious blood you confess your sins one by one to God. You may confess for an hour and conclude with only five minutes of asking. You need to confess your sins thoroughly until you are without fear and are pure and light inside. Then you can pray, saying, “O, God, the church has a problem here, the work has a difficulty here, etc. I place all these before You.”
Even in our giving of thanks and praises during the Lord’s table, we should experience the redemption of the cross. Before you go into the Lord’s presence to worship and remember Him, you need to go to the cross. No one can go into the Holy Place without going to the altar. You cannot say, “Oh, a few days ago I passed through the altar, so today I can simply walk straight in.” If you do so, you will fall into spiritual death before God. Although you confessed your sins yesterday and again this morning when you prayed, you still need to confess your sins this afternoon when you pray. And it is useless to confess with mere empty words. You need to have the consciousness of sins. Whenever a person touches God, he will definitely have the consciousness of sin. When Peter saw the Lord Jesus perform a miracle, thus manifesting Himself as God, immediately he said, “Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord” (Luke 5:8). It is here that redemption is necessary. We are not able at any time to stand before God by ourselves, but by the redeeming blood of the cross.
(Lessons on Prayer, Chapter 13, by Witness Lee)