THE TWO CATEGORIES OF THE POWER OF SOUL
The latent power of the soul, according to the Bible and even in psychology, can be classified into two categories. We admit that we cannot separate the two categories too clearly, nor definitively categorize the contents of each category. But we can say that within the latent power of the soul, one category seems to be ordinary while the other seems to be miraculous; one category seems to be natural while the other seems to be supernatural; one category seems to be humanly comprehensible while the other seems to be beyond human comprehension.
The definition of the mind in psychology is broader than the Bible’s definition. In psychology the mind includes two parts: the conscious and the subconscious. The subconscious part in psychology is the miraculous power of the soul. The mind in psychology is equal to the soul in the Bible, one part of which is conscious and the other part is subconscious. Although consciousness and subconsciousness are clearly distinguished by psychologists, in reality it is very difficult to distinguish them. Generally, psychologists group those ordinary manifestations of the soul into the category of consciousness and the uncommon and miraculous manifestations into the category of subconsciousness. We often group the ordinary and common manifestations of the soul within the scope of the soul. However, even the powerful, seemingly miraculous, and strange manifestations of the soul are also within the realm of the soul. These latter manifestations tend toward the realm of subconsciousness. Since everyone’s latent power is different, some manifested phenomena lean more toward one realm while others lean more toward the other.
All those who serve the Lord should pay attention to this matter; otherwise, they will be carried away by this kind of miraculous power when they are leading others to the Lord. Let me reiterate the difference between the soul and the spirit. The soul of Adam belongs to the old creation, while the spirit regenerated by God belongs to the new creation. All of God’s works are done through man’s spirit, because this is the regenerated life of man and the new creation. All of Satan’s works are done through man’s soul, which is the fallen soul from Adam. Satan can only use the old creation; he cannot use the new creation because the regenerated life cannot sin.
WHAT SATAN IS DOING IN THE CHURCH
How does Satan, through man’s soul, utilize this latent power? Buddhism, Taoism, psychologists, and spiritualists in Christianity are all his working tools. We have given many examples regarding this. Today I would like to illustrate with some further spiritual examples to show how the enemy uses man’s soul, so that we can discern what comes from God and what comes from the enemy. In addition, we will also know how God uses man’s spirit and how Satan uses man’s soul.
All prayers in the Bible are meaningful and purposeful. When the Lord Jesus taught us how to pray, the first sentence was, "Our Father who is in the heavens" (Matt. 6:9b). The Lord instructed us to pray to the Father in heaven; but we often pray to the God in our room rather than to the Father in heaven. Our prayers should only be offered to the Father in heaven and should ascend to the heavenly Father. We should not care for our good feeling or bad feeling or any feeling at all. God only wants us to offer our prayers to heaven by faith. If we just pray to the God in the room, I am afraid that we will have many strange feelings, miraculous experiences, and strange visions from the God. All of these will be given to us by Satan. And what we receive from Satan belongs to either the consciousness or the subconsciousness.
You may not pray to the God in your room, but it is also very dangerous if you direct your prayer toward the person for whom you are praying. For example, you have a friend who is more than two thousand miles away. You pray for him, asking God to either revive him with the Word or cause him to believe in the Lord. However, your prayer is not directed toward God in the heavens; you are only exercising and concentrating your soul to project your expectations and desires as a force toward your friend. Your thoughts, intentions, desires and all you have are all piled upon your friend. Your prayer is like a bow which shoots your thoughts, intentions, and desires as arrows directly toward your friend. He is pressed by your force; consequently, whatever you asked will be fulfilled upon him. You may think that your prayer is answered. But let me say, the prayer toward your friend is not answered by God because your prayer was not toward God. Someone said to me, "My prayer was answered because I piled prayers upon him." I responded, "Yes, you prayed toward him, not toward God. Therefore, your prayer was answered, but it was not answered by God." If you pray in this way, even though you know nothing about hypnotism, you will be following the principle of hypnotism because you will release the power in your soul to accomplish this matter.
I would like to read a letter written by a believer. He wrote, "Recently I have been attacked severely by the enemy. I vomited blood; my heart rate was erratic; I was suffocating and exhausted. My whole body seemed to be collapsing. While I was praying, God revealed that I should pray against the many prayers that were toward me which were made through soulish power. I then asked God to protect and cover me with the blood of the Lord Jesus. I also believed that God’s power would be manifested in my body. When I began to pray in this way, wonderfully, my heart began to beat normally, the vomiting of blood stopped, my breathing became smooth, and the strength of my body was recovered. I was recovered fully as a normal person. God showed me that day that I suffered from vomiting blood, an erratic heart rate, suffocation, and exhaustion because a group of deceived believers (those who prayed for me) had prayed me into the sickness. Later I helped two of them to be saved and delivered. It is sad that the rest of them are still in that foolish pit."
Why did this happen? It happened because some people did not pray toward God in heaven; instead, they were casting, besieging, and piling their prayers upon the person for whom they were praying. In doing so, it seemed that they were praying, but secretly they were exercising their soulish power to oppress that person. Suppose you exercise your soul-power to pray for someone to be a certain way, saying, "Even if he is not punished, he should at least be disciplined." Your prayer out of your soul-power will be projected to that person, and he will become sick. This is a law, a law of the soul. A person will burn his finger if he puts it into fire; it is a law. Therefore, when you pray, you should not say that if someone does not behave a certain way, certain things should happen to him. If you pray in this way, all of that person’s painful suffering will come from you. If you intend to give yourself to prayer, your prayer should be toward God and should not be toward any person. I also had this kind of experience. Several years ago I suffered from a sickness for over a year. This was also due to the prayers of five or six persons who piled their prayers upon me. The more they prayed, the weaker I became. Later on when I found this out, I resisted this kind of prayer by asking God not to accomplish what they had prayed toward me. After that I got well.
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 10: The Present Testimony (3), Chapter 10, by Watchman Nee)