Lessons on Prayer, by Witness Lee

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In John chapters fourteen through sixteen the Lord Jesus clearly points out that prayers in the name of the Lord by those who live in the Lord are prayers that accomplish God’s will. When we first heard that we needed to pray in the name of the Lord, we thought we could pray for anything in the Lord’s name. But as we learn the lesson, we discover that out of ten matters we want to pray for, we are able to pray for only two. We realize that the other eight are not the Lord’s will and, therefore, the Lord cannot pray together with us. All real prayers in the name of the Lord are surely in accordance with God’s will.

From John chapters fourteen through sixteen we can see that doing God’s will and praying in the Lord’s name are almost the same thing. When you are praying in the Lord’s name, it is equal to doing God’s will. Because you are one who lives in the Lord and by the Lord, your living is the Lord’s living. Please consider, can such a person still have goals or inclinations outside the Lord? Of course he cannot! Therefore, we would like to mention once again that of all the places in the Bible that are concerned with God’s promise in relation to prayer, none seems as broad as the one here in the Gospel of John. Here the Lord Jesus says, “Ask whatever you will, and it shall come to pass to you” (John 15:7). In one sense this promise is really broad. But actually speaking, this prayer is also very narrow, because the kind of prayer referred to in John chapters fourteen through sixteen is a prayer in the Lord. On the one hand, it says that whatever you want will be given to you, but, on the other hand, it says that such prayer needs to be in the Lord’s name. Although you may have many desires when you are in yourself, once you turn and get into the Lord’s name, you will see that your desires become restricted and that there are many things for which you simply cannot ask.

I remember, years ago, when I first went to Nanking, a brother invited me to a meal. He was very happy, and during the whole mealtime he was the only one talking. He kept saying, “Brother Lee, now that we have won the war, I have a feeling about this and I have a feeling about that; I would like to do this, and I would like to do that.” He spoke of his many, many likes, and they were all for God. While I was listening to him, I had a very deep sensation that this brother did not know what he was saying. What he wanted, the Lord did not want. Those were his wants apart from the Lord. If one day he would go into the Lord, he would soon realize that he must leave all his desires outside the Lord. He himself may come into the Lord, but not his desires.

You all know what I mean. When you are living outside the Lord, you may have many desires. You may say, “I want God to do this for me and, by His power, I also want to do that for Him.” But gradually, as you learn to live in the Lord, you will see that all those desires are outside the Lord and not in accordance with the will of God. Hence, God has no way to fulfill those desires. Then, and only then, can you say that your desire is God’s desire. Hence, your prayer will accomplish God’s will; it is doing God’s will.

In summary, to pray in the name of the Lord is not just a statement or a form; rather, it is a spiritual reality and a life in union with the Lord. When we actually live in the Lord and have such a life in union with Him, we will pray spontaneously, and our prayers will surely be in accordance with the Lord’s will. When we live in Him and allow Him to live in us, He will be expressed through us. Then the prayers that come forth from us will be restricted to the expression of God’s desires. Once we have this kind of prayer, God’s will will definitely be accomplished because the purified desire within us issues from the mingling—the Lord with us and we with Him. The prayers of such a one are prayers in the name of the Lord.

(Lessons on Prayer, Chapter 20, by Witness Lee)