Lessons on Prayer, by Witness Lee

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Within our whole being, the supreme part is the spirit; the spirit is the master of our whole being. Although the spirit should subject itself to the Lord’s ruling, it still stands in the chief position in the whole being. The spirit dominates the soul, and through the soul it dominates the body; thus, the mind must yield itself to the control of the spirit. One must always exercise so that the spirit may direct his mind. Of course, we admit that this is not an easy thing to do. It is not easy to focus our mind, and it is even harder for our spirit to rule our mind, for some have never learned how to exercise their spirit nor how to use their spiritual sense, the consciousness of the spirit. Not only are the unbelievers like this, but Christians are, also. All those who do not know how to exercise their spirit have a dominating mind. If your mind dominates your spirit you cannot pray. Only when you always allow the spirit to have the preeminence, ruling and controlling the mind, can the mind really be useful in spiritual things. Often we exhort people to pray, yet it is of no avail. There are numerous reasons that a person is unable to pray, but the chief reason is that the mind is not standing in the proper position. The mind has surpassed the spirit, and having upset the order, has risen from the position of a slave to become the master.

Let us give an illustration of how to practice allowing the spirit to rule the mind. Suppose someone comes to see you. While listening to his talking, use your spirit to sense before exercising your mind to think. Wait until there is the consciousness in your spirit; then allow the spirit to direct the mind to comprehend and express that consciousness. This is what is meant by letting the spirit be lord, ruling the mind. But commonly, when we talk with others, we put our spirit aside, letting it remain inoperative, and we allow our mind to go into full function. If in our daily life the mind climbs too high while the spirit descends too low, when prayer time comes it will not be easy for the spirit to rise again. Hence, in our daily living, we need to practice continually not allowing the mind to dominate the spirit, but rather allowing the spirit to rule and direct the mind. Thus, we will be able to pray well.


Romans 8:6 tells us that our mind may be of the flesh or of the spirit. The mind of the flesh refers to the mind standing on the side of the flesh and being ruled by the flesh. The mind of the spirit refers to the mind standing on the side of the spirit, cooperating with the spirit, being ruled by the spirit, and minding the spiritual things. Romans 8:5-6 says, “For those who are according to flesh mind the things of the flesh; but those who are according to spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the spirit is life and peace.” In verse 5 the word mind is used as a verb. In verse 6, concerning the same thing, it is used as a noun, that is, the mind of the spirit. When your mind is ruled by the spirit, submits to the spirit, and always minds the things of the spirit, the mind is spiritual and becomes the mind of the spirit. Only the mind set on the spirit can cause you to touch life and have peace within. A mind of prayer is one that minds the spirit, cooperates with the spirit, submits itself to the ruling of the spirit, and is set on the spirit. Only such a mind can pray competently and properly.


Ephesians 4:23 says, “And are renewed in the spirit of your mind.” The spirit of the mind denotes the presence of the spirit in the mind. The spirit has entered into the mind. Formerly the spirit was the spirit and the mind was the mind, but now the spirit and the mind have joined and are mingled as one. Not only has the spirit been renewed, and not only has the mind been renewed, but the spirit and the mind have been mingled together and are completely renewed. This is the meaning of Ephesians 4:23. In other words, there is a mind that can never be separated from the spirit. It is not only a mind of the spirit, submitting itself to the rule of the spirit, being directed by the spirit, and minding the things of the spirit, but it has the element of the spirit within and is mingled with the spirit. When it thinks, the spirit is in its thinking. The elements of the spirit are found in its every movement. When a person reaches this stage he is rather deep in the Lord. His spirit has spread to his soul, his soul is under the control of the spirit, and the mind of the soul has the elements of the spirit within. Such a one is surely able to pray.

I believe that the brothers and sisters will have a better understanding if I add a few more words. In reading the prayers in the Bible, you can sense that the spirit is there. At the same time, you can also sense that the thinking of the mind is there. You can sense the presence of the spirit in such a mind. For example, if you read Daniel’s prayer of confession in chapter nine, you can see that the words are full of clear thoughts proceeding from a sober mind. At the same time, they are full of the spirit, because the spirit and the mind are mingled together and the mind is filled with the elements of the spirit. This is the mind of the spirit. We need such a mind in order to pray. Many times when the brothers and sisters are praying they have only the thoughts but not the spirit. At other times, when they have a considerable amount of the elements of the spirit, their thinking is poor, incoherent, and inadequate. This proves that they have not been renewed in the spirit of their mind.

(Lessons on Prayer, Chapter 6, by Witness Lee)