Lessons on Prayer, by Witness Lee

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We know that crookedness and craftiness are elements of darkness; while goodness, righteousness, truthfulness, and uprightness are characteristics of light. We are surely in darkness if there is crookedness or craftiness in our motive, manner of life, action, and conversation. Sometimes these conditions are absent, yet there is another kind of darkness, which is pure darkness. Some are in darkness because of crookedness, craftiness, or pride; others are in darkness by simply being dark inside and without light. It may be that one is a very well-behaved person, not a bit crafty, but upright, sincere, guileless, unpretentious, and humble. He has no faults whatsoever, but he is dark within, being void of light. Please remember, any form of darkness can make you unable to pray. Man cannot pray as long as he is dark inside.

You may consider, “It is true that craftiness, crookedness, and pride can cause us to be dark inside, but how can we be in darkness when there is no fault whatsoever?” All darkness is due to some problem, but there can be a kind of darkness even when there is no moral fault. In reality spiritually speaking, this kind of darkness has some underlying problem too. Why is there darkness in man? It is mainly because man remains closed and veiled within. Sometimes you meet a brother or sister who is well-behaved, humble, and loving, but his being is not open. He is neither open to God nor to fellow members of the Body. He is closed to God as well as to man. Not only so, he is also one who evidently rejects light. When light illumines him, he pays no attention to it and even uses an excuse to reject it. Consequently, as he is closed and refuses light, he is a good person yet remains in darkness.

One thing is sure, whatever kind of darkness he may be in, it will always cause man to become unable to pray. The crooked or proud ones will surely dislike praying. The subtle ones and man-haters definitely cannot pray. Similarly, one who is closed to God as well as to man, and who refuses light, certainly will not enjoy praying. For the life of prayer in us is a life that loves light. The more we open ourselves to God as well as to all the brothers and sisters, the more we receive light and allow it to correct us. When we thus remain in the light, within us there will be an intense desire to pray.

I have met some brothers and sisters who are truly humble, meek, loving, sincere, and upright, yet they simply do not like to pray. They enjoy running some errands as well as exerting their effort to perform some things for you, but if you mention prayer to them, immediately they dislike it. They are really lovable, but unfortunately, they do not like to pray. Once you encounter this kind of situation, you should know that they are people who remain in darkness. Their darkness is not due to pride, craftiness, crookedness, or hatred; rather, it is because they do not open themselves, they refuse light, and use excuses to push light away. Hence, they dislike praying. The life of prayer in us loves light, and the more we are in the light, the more the life in us loves to pray—this is a law.


Within every kind of life there are many laws. Such is the case with our physical life. Digestion is a law, and metabolism is another law. What is a law? A law is a natural ability which does not require you to control it by exercising your will. For example, when we take in food, the stomach will spontaneously digest it. This is the law of digestion. Without any help, some elements will automatically be discharged from our body, while other elements will be added into us. This is the law of metabolism. When you wave an object in front of someone’s eyes, his eyes will naturally blink. This is also a law. When you eat something bitter, you immediately spit it out; when you taste something sweet, you swallow it. These are laws. Similarly, in our life of prayer there is also a law of prayer. It contains such a natural ability that without your urging, it spontaneously desires to pray.

Remember, however, that although it is a law, it can be damaged by man just as the law of digestion and the law of metabolism can be spoiled by man. We all know that when any physical law is damaged, the result is sickness. Whenever the body is sick, it means its law or laws have been violated. Likewise, if you do not respond to the demand of holiness which issues out of the life within you, this is a sickness which frustrates the law of prayer. If you do not deal with sins according to the consciousness of life, or if you refuse to depart from darkness, this will also obstruct the law of prayer. In other words, it means you are sick. Therefore, with those brothers and sisters who seldom open their mouths to pray, without doubt they are sick in their life of prayer. If you learn to live in God, respond to His demand of holiness, follow the sense of His condemnation, and deal with any darkness, you will discover that the life of prayer in you is healthy and normal, and the law of prayer operates in you continually. Thus, spontaneously, you can pray as well as enjoy praying.

Within every man there is the law of digestion which automatically digests the food that has been taken in. If one does not take in food when it is time to eat, there will be a sensation of emptiness and hunger. If you feel no hunger after not eating for two days, the law of digestion in you has probably been damaged. There is also a law of prayer that is inherent in the life of a Christian which requires you to pray regularly. What kind of people cannot pray? It must be those in whom the law of prayer has been damaged. It may be that they do not respond to the demand of holiness, follow the consciousness of holiness within, or refuse the darkness which is abhorred by the life within. This life is absolutely holy; therefore, it demands that you be holy. It also utterly hates sins; hence, it repeatedly gives you the sense of hating sins. Moreover, it fully loves light, so it always requires you to leave darkness. If you are not willing to respond to its demand of holiness, if you neglect its sin-hating consciousness, or reject its demand of light, your life of prayer is in trouble immediately. If you are willing to deal with these things, the life of prayer within you is immediately resurrected. Moreover, there is a law in this life that will operate in you and make you pray. You will be able to pray as well as enjoy praying, and whatever you pray will touch God. These are abilities inherent in the life of prayer.

(Lessons on Prayer, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)