The Spirit with our spirit is the essence of the Christian life (Rom. 8:16). Day by day we need to be strengthened with power through the Spirit into our inner man [our spirit] so that Christ may make His home in our heart (Eph. 3:16-17a). Prayer is crucial to this experience, because when we pray in our spirit, we are practically joined to the Lord Spirit as one spirit (Eph. 6:18; Jude 20; 1 Cor. 6:17). Such prayer is not merely for our personal enjoyment and satisfaction; we must realize that God needs us to pray in this way for the sake of His move on earth.
In Matthew 6 the Lord Jesus taught His disciples to pray in this way: “Our Father…Your name be sanctified; Your kingdom come; Your will be done, as in heaven, so also on earth.” God has a will that He would like to carry out on earth, but many things, such as Satan, the world, and sin, frustrate God’s will. Even though God is all-powerful and can do whatever He desires, He chooses to work only when His people agree with His will and cooperate with Him through prayer. This is the principle of prayer. In other words, God does not work if we do not pray. In this sense, God’s will is frustrated not only by the negative things but also by our lack of prayer. What a great and awesome responsibility we have!
Although we have a great responsibility to pray, we need to realize that our prayer can never change God’s will; it only accomplishes what God has ordained. Therefore, we do not need to invent or initiate anything in our prayer; rather, we need to enjoy the Lord and be filled with Him so that we may keenly sense His thoughts and feelings in our spirit. Real prayer is Christ in us praying to Christ on the throne. Only this kind of prayer can satisfy God’s desire and carry out His will on earth.
Watchman Nee, Collected Works of Watchman Nee, Volume 8, Pages 5-13 (Nook, Kindle, iBooks, Print).
Watchman Nee, Messages for Building Up New Believers, Volume 1, Chapter 10 (iBooks, Print).
(Most references in the Further Reading can also be viewed on www.ministrybooks.org.)
2 thoughts on “The Principle of Prayer”
Before Jesus’ words about prayer in Mt. 6, he has taught much in Mt. 5 about what God’s will is, what God and Jesus want his disciples to do (for example, loving rather than hating enemies, at the end of Mt. 5). So when we pray that God’s will be done on earth, we are praying that these teachings of Jesus will be done by us. This prayer will remind us of our responsibilities and empower us to fulfill them.
Rom. 8:27 …because He intercedes for the saints according to God.
Real prayer is the divine expression. The principle of prayer is not prayer according to our needs, but prayer according to God’s need. God’s need in these days is to make Christ everything to His chosen people.
God’s move is like a locomotive. Our prayers are the tracks for God’s move to be carried out on earth. If there are no tracks, God’s move is frustrated. The church is accountable for the advance of God’s move. The extent of God’s moves, is determined by the extent to which the church prays. May the prayers of the church break through the threshold!
“How many prayers today are for the expression of God’s will? How many prayers are a setting aside of oneself and a seeking for the accomplishment of God’s will? How many believers are there who truly work together with God in prayer? How many believers echo back to God His heart’s desire daily before Him and empty out their hearts to seek after God and to ask for God to accomplish what they understand as God’s will?”