THROUGH PRAYER MAN’S SPIRIT BEING CONSTANTLY EXERCISED
Everyone who exercises his spirit prays. Only prayer makes a person exercised in his spirit, in the same way that only moving the feet enables a person to walk. If we want to walk, we must move our feet. Similarly, if we would exercise our spirit, we must pray. Prayer is not merely asking God for strength to accomplish what we are doing. Rather, prayer causes us to exercise our spirit to contact God. If you are a man of prayer, your word will come out of your spirit when you go out to contact people. Your attitude will be grave, and your tone will be weighty. Therefore, before going out to preach the gospel, you must first have an extended time of prayer to build up your spirit.
In 2 Timothy 1, Paul said to Timothy, “Fan into flame the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands” (v. 6). Fanning into flame the gift of God has much to do with our regenerated spirit. This gift refers to the Spirit which we received from God. The gift we received from the Lord is like a little fire dimly burning. We need to fan it into flame and add fuel to it. Paul said that “God has not given us a spirit of cowardice, but of power and of love and of a sober mind” (v. 7). Power refers to our will, love refers to our emotion, and a sober mind refers to our mind. Our spirit is not frail; but we must exercise it more regularly. When we live in our spirit, our morality will be uplifted. The spirit makes a man sober and orderly. The orderliness and sobriety from the spirit come neither from rational restrictions nor from pretense; they are lived out through our spirit. For this reason, they are spontaneous. Everything done and spoken from the spirit will surely convey God.
PRAYER AND SINGING BUILDING UP MAN’S SPIRIT
When you live in the spirit, you live in God, for God dwells in your spirit. God is powerful and gracious; He is also holy and righteous. As you live out God, love, holiness, righteousness, and power come out. In this way you become a powerful person. This power is a matter in your spirit. I hope that before you go to the villages for the outreach, you will desperately exercise your spirit and will not be a light person. It is not enough for you to be a rational person. You must exercise yourself to get into your spirit in order to build it up and strengthen it, just as an athlete exercises his body daily. He does it in order to strengthen all the muscles of his body so that eventually his will can direct his body for an outstanding performance.
An athlete exercises to strengthen the physical element of his body. Similarly, our exercise of the spirit builds up and strengthens our inner, spiritual element which is the Spirit bearing God’s presence within our spirit. Therefore, we should exercise our spirit all day. We should never behave loosely in our living nor should we ever speak loosely, but in everything we should follow the spirit. Paul said in Romans 8:4, “Walk…according to spirit.” Paul referred to our general conduct in living which should be according to the spirit. If you are a person following the spirit, the Scriptures you use for your gospel preaching and the songs you select will all be full of the Spirit.
The best way to exercise the spirit is first to pray and second to sing. Hymn singing is very effective in freeing people from the soul. It causes them to forget the soul. Before you go to preach the gospel, it is best to sing one or two gospel hymns. When you sing or pray, your spirit will be strengthened.
This training provides you with some preparation. In the upcoming move, you will have to live in the spirit to be a person with a high standard. By living in the spirit, you will be restricted, regulated, and sober. If you are not loose, spontaneously you will not easily have friction and conflict with others. In this way there will be no difficulties produced in your relationships with the brothers and sisters. If you cannot regulate or restrict yourselves, you will create friction with others in small matters. The best way to avoid creating difficulties is to live in the spirit and to yield to the restriction of the spirit. In this way the spirit will build up your person. In fact, a proper character that can be used by the Lord, as we have mentioned in the past, is brought forth in this way. Your going out to work for the Lord is like an army going into battle. Every one of you has to be trained to send out the gospel. For this reason, you desperately need to exercise your spirit all the time and build up your personality and character in the spirit.
(A message given by Brother Witness Lee in Taipei on October 27, 1988.)
(Messages in Preparation for the Spread of the Gospel, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)