Minoru Chen – November 30th, 2012.
This transcript has not been reviewed by the speaker.
I choose to still sit rather than to stand so it’s not so much giving a message but to have a talk, a fellowship. Of course I know this song, I have sang it but I checked again, Hymn 762, it has neither an asterix or a dagger. It is not written by us, meaning Brother Lee or Brother Nee, but by some others in this case, AB Simpson. And just by singing or looking at these words or lyrics, you just know this person is really a person of prayer because these are not natural concepts of prayer that you see here in these verses. These come from, or came from, I would say some extraordinarily deep experiences of true prayer. And only when you have arrived in that kind of territory of prayer can you have this kind of utterance like in these songs. Isn’t this up-to-date, this song? It’s almost like what we talk about. So we should not be so certain that only we have it or only we’ve got it. Maybe in the sense of the thorough and full interpretation of the truth, maybe. But as far as the reality and the spiritual realm, I believe there are others who have accessed that reality because after all it is a spiritual reality in that divine and mystical realm and surely, AB Simpson, he has touched that.
And the other person of course is Andrew Murray who has this famous booklet called “With Christ in the School of Prayer”. I read that many years ago and hardly remember what it talks about but that he would consider prayer something as an education. Prayer is something that is taught. Prayer is something to learn. That concept I find very appropriate, very right. In other words, we on the one hand, were born to pray as a Christian because if we liken prayer to breathing then we’re born to breathe. So no one needs to be taught how to breathe. But I think that analogy can only go so far, meaning, yes, we all can breathe in order to live, but in the spiritual realm, it’s hard to say how many Christians are really breathing properly, because of their lack of understanding or enlightenment in this very deep matter of prayer. So they benefit for sure and profit, maybe I would even say they have some effectiveness in their prayer, but compared to what it should be, they are far off. So learning how to pray, is a very heavy burden in light of this coming three weeks of prayer season. I am especially burdened for us, us, meaning those who are serving full-time. What is our time for, so called “full-time”? Well on the one hand, it is surely time to work, to labor, and do many things with people. That is for sure. But it is very easy and it is a trap, in fact, that even I fall into, to think that if we busy ourselves with such work, if we manage to fill our schedule with this or that and even the necessary things in our service, then we are okay. Well I think in light of what we have seen in these days or what the Lord is focusing us on in these days I think we all have to be quite convicted or even ashamed that in actuality our service is in the area of prayer has not been up to standard. And I see it especially as a full-time person, especially, because as the apostles demonstrated to us that their full-time service were not supposed to be given to many extraneous or outward things. We would never say those things are not important. You know absolutely not. But that even those things even as important as they are can deprive us or even cheat us of the real service before the Lord and, that is, prayer and the ministry of the word. Now we use this phrase ministry of the word a little bit broadly here. I don’t mean you have to stand behind the podium to minister the word. Let’s say that ministry of the word is our service to man, is our ministry before man, that makes prayer our ministry before God. One is in the direction towards the Lord and the other is in the direction towards man. And you all know that, first things first, that our ministry to the Lord which is what prayer is has priority in that order. Not the word first but prayer first. In other words, our ministry to God precedes and is a base of our ministry to man. We have to get this right. And even for you who are young and learning to serve, you have to get this right from a young age otherwise you just may acquire some bad habits, I call it, and assume that is the right thing to do. And so in your serving life you always would be busy busy doing many things believing that by doing those things you are satisfactorily carrying out you know your ministry or your service when actually you are not. The service before man is always easy, it is visible, it is in another words, it is seen and in a way it is more easily evaluated, you know, in as far as its effectiveness and so on. The ministry to the Lord not so; it is in sort of an invisible realm. It is something often hard to gauge how effective that ministry really is. You may not even see results right away as you may when you minister to people yet that ministry well I would even say actually if you have the experience, the spiritual strength or energy called for in that ministry far exceeds our ministry before man. Talk about being tired out. Have you ever been tired out by prayer? Or have you only been tired out by talking to people? If you have not been tired out by prayer maybe you have not even entered that deeply into that ministry. Being exhausted by prayer automatically implies a certain intensity and certain length and duration of that prayer. Now I say that in the way of introduction. We have these three weeks of prayer ahead of us which you all have heard about if you follow the conference in Oklahoma City, especially, the last message you have gotten that fellowship or announcement. Today I don’t want to talk about that, repeat that, that is not my burden this morning. My burden is to go deeper and that is to help us, all of us learning to serve, brothers and sisters, full timers. How to take advantage of this season of prayer to build up, to learn to advance in your own prayer life. These three weeks are just a beginning even for the Recovery. It is unprecedented. It is extremely special. Who knows one day we look back and it even has a certain historical significance. We don’t know, but as special as the occasion is, I hope we would not just go do it, and you know, which is not bad, to pray a little more and so on so forth and say okay, well we done that let’s move on. But that we especially would use this time to learn how to pray to learn again, to learn further, at least how to pray. That means do not assume our present prayers are adequate or the way we’re praying is right on. You should not assume that; I should not assume that. The co-workers met a day after the Oklahoma conference and of course this is the main subject and I would say at the end of our fellowship, we brothers, many are quite experienced and mature brothers, have this similar feeling that we like to learn how to pray. Don’t think we know how to pray. Even we are learning once again how to pray in a deeper way. In a more effective way, in a way that is more like AB Simpson, these other ones who have really touched the kernel of prayer. The kernel of this prayer. So that is my first kind of exhortation to you that you would take these three weeks in such a way. So that beyond these 3 weeks, we would all have been elevated into a different realm. And hopefully through us, others, the ones whom we serve, whom you are perfecting and caring for would also learn from you how really to pray. You see prayer is the easiest thing, really like breathing. But may I say prayer is the most difficult spiritual exercise. It is the most difficult. In this matter, you may say I know how to pray; I pray all the time; prayer comes easy to me. You can say that. Or you can say well maybe there is a lot for me to learn here that I have not yet learned in a deeper way. So my burden this morning is not to urge you to pray not to charge you to pray more. No, that is not my burden. My burden is to hopefully usher us into you know, how should I say, you know, or a brand new or you never heard of them or something like that. No. But as I myself am getting into this again I find that certain basic things are actually extremely necessary. A lot of what we think are basic things. So I would like to just go over these things with us. I would just comment on them again hardly giving a message but perhaps more like a little class here. I think that’s a better way of looking at things. The first thing is the vow of prayer. The vow. This means this kind of prayer is not the ordinary, you know, time, and a kind of special exercise. There a kind of an elevated kind of exercise. And so this kind of prayer would automatically invite resistance from the enemy or from your weak soul or from your tired bodies and from many these directions, right? So a kind of a vow which is really Brother Lee’s word means a commitment, a kind of pledge that means there is a purpose behind this prayer. It’s purposeful.
It requires a certain kind of resolve to pray this kind of prayer. It does not come automatically. You don’t get up and feel like you would pray this kind of prayer. There has to be a kind of determination, a kind of resoluteness, you see, we are going to pray. You see the point. Not so easy you know. Lot of our prayers are kind of introduction, I call them, before we get to fellowship to pray a little bit or you see what I’m saying. That’s not bad, don’t take me wrong. But we are talking about something deeper here that requires a kind of very conscious determination like the apostles. That prayer is a purposeful thing. It’s a work if I may say so. It’s a work. It’s a labor. It’s a ministry. You need to make a vow to the Lord. By vow I mean a kind of a promise to the Lord. Lord, I want to be such a man. Lord, I want to be such a full timer. I want to be one who is a praying one matching Your need. Lord, make me such a one. Lord I consecrate or I make this vow to you. Not just for the three weeks, certainly for the three weeks, but beyond. Brothers and sisters, I’m just so burdened not just for prayer in general but that the Lord would raise up in His Recovery, in its time, an army of prayer warriors, especially from the ranks of you, meaning the younger ones because this kind of prayer requires strength and stamina, truthfully speaking. A lot of these powerful prayers were not prayed by old people but by young people. And may I say something here, that prayer, the learning of prayer, and the advancement in prayer, matures you more than a lot of things. Prayer matures your service, matures your usefulness more than many other things. True, you need to read the Word and be constituted with the truth that is for your revelation, for your enlightenment, for your understanding, you know so forth. For your knowledge, which is absolutely needed. But prayer matures you. Prayer matures you. You watch a person who prays and is really seriously learning to be such a praying one; you will them grow and mature. Just even in one prayer you become more mature. I am not joking. Just by one season of prayer you find that you have grown. The proper kind of prayer I mean. So I would like to ask the full-timers to make such a vow. You have to make that personal vow before the Lord. This is, by the way, my emphasis, at least, in the first 20 points, is not corporate but individual; there’s a corporate side; I stress the individual side. Make me a praying one. I’ll just leave it at that.
The second point of course is the organs, plural, of prayer. Brother Lee did say that the singular organ of prayer is the spirit. I say the organs; I mean three things. No doubt, firstly, your human spirit, your mingled Spirit; second, your renewed mind is very important. A mind under control; a mind transformed. Actually prayer does that; prayer renews your mind, but you also need such a mind in cooperation with a strong spirit to have the adequate prayers. The third organ is your mouth. That means audible prayers. There are inaudible prayers for sure but inaudible prayers cannot compare with audible prayers. Even when you are by yourself it’s so easy for us to lapse into quietness. It’s okay that there are moments like that. But often when you’re in that kind of, you pray in an inaudible way, you basically are praying from your heart am I right? Or it really should be from the spirit. You find that it is harder to concentrate; harder to retain the thought; it’s harder to even to follow the Spirit when it’s inaudible. For sure all the prayers in the Bible that are recorded are not inaudible or else how could they have been recorded if no one even knows what they prayed. All the powerful prayers are often audible prayers. So they have those three organs and they all are absolutely needed. You cannot have one without the other. Say you have a burning spirit and loud mouth but your mind is unable to discern the Spirit, unable to communicate what is in your spirit through your mouth then it’s a lot of loud whatever shouting. You see what I mean. Or you have the spirit with a mind that interprets but you don’t express it in your mouth. Something is missing especially when you are with others. And not only when you are with others, even when you are praying by yourself, I find often times to hear myself pray helps. Or if, of course, you have a good mind and a good mouth and no spirit, of course, that means nothing. Well anyway all three you will find in a good prayer has to be like this. Acting, coordinating these three organs in a good prayer, all these three are exercised and working with each other. I think actually we will cover this in the utterance in a moment. That word in 1 Corinthians about communicating the spiritual things applies not only to fellowship but very much to prayer. Prayer is the ability to transmit what is of the Spirit in spirit or communicated through your trained mind and even through audibly through words. You say to who? Well to the Lord, to others when we pray together, and I would say even to yourself and sometimes even to Satan. You have to say something to Satan in your prayer. So all these organs have to be practiced. Don’t take this, brothers and sisters, so easily.
Number three. The location of prayer. Clearly the location again is our spirit as revealed in John 4. What does that mean? It means that we really pray in secret as the Lord charges us to do (Matt 6:6). The location is not outward. Although it does make sense I would say to pray not in the middle of Time Square, or Hollywood, or Sunset Boulevard. You see what I am saying. There is that point about finding a more secluded, quiet situation like your backyard, your study, your room, something like this. Even the Lord withdrew Himself to the desert or to the mountain physically. Even the Lord had to leave the crowds and leave the hub and the hustle and bustle to have concentrated prayer to the Father; even He as a man needed that. How about us? But I am here more about the inward location and that is a secret place. You have to find that secret place which really is the holiest of all, the holy of holies, that’s where the incense altar is. So outwardly and inwardly you have to find that place. You can be in a private place but your mind could be in Time Square. Well that means you have not found that secret location. It’s not easy to find that place. Forget about just pray, even to prepare to pray takes a lot of work.
The next one is the position of prayer. By this I don’t mean the outward position, I’ll get to that. I’m talking about the inward position. The inward position of our prayer must be resurrection and ascension. That’s where we are when we pray. The incense that we offer to God is the resurrected Christ with all His virtues and it ascends to the heavens signifying that this is the Ascended One. In order for this Christ to be part of your prayer, which is really what a standard prayer is, that this incense can be added to the bowl which are the prayers of the saints. Or the censer which is the prayer of the saints, we have to be in a position that it can happen. So obviously that means that we cannot be in our natural condition, state. We cannot be in a down, earthly or earthy place or position; in a depressed, oppressed, downtrodden, deadened, or dying situation. You cannot pray, you just cannot pray when you are like that. So you must get yourself into a condition of resurrection and ascension, and that, you have to claim by faith. You have to exercise your spirit to be in the Spirit who is the reality of this resurrection and ascension.
The next thing I would like to say is the posture of prayer. It’s more than location or position, it’s your posture. Now again, like the other points, there is the outward and the inward. The outward obviously is the kneeling position, and plenty of not even kneeling, but I would say in the Bible the prostrate position. It’s not even your two knees but your whole body is prostrated. That is the outward and the Lord may lead you to pray that way. I don’t know. But those three weeks in L.A., fifty years ago, we were told those brothers were kneeling every day. We were told for several hours. You know, we brothers, out there in San Juan Capistrano these last four years, we didn’t kneel. I must tell you we were sitting there for hours at a time. I can only imagined if we kneeled, it would be quite challenging to some older brothers. But we did kneel before. Why kneel? Let me say this is not only the outward kneeling but I would say inwardly when we pray this way we should assume a kneeling posture. What does that mean? That means a kind of attitude in our prayer that is one of reverence; one of submission or obedience; one of petitioning as to a king or someone in authority, you kneel. Or even an attitude of waiting. You are just waiting like a slave. You wait on your master in a kind of posture. So, brothers and sisters, even how to posture yourself when you pray inwardly mean a lot. I would say that as the Lord leads, sometimes we should kneel together. I really think so; we should kneel together. It really means something, as that posture, right away does something to you. It settles you. It puts you in the right kind of frame of mind before God. It does. I do feel that in the Recovery we do need more kneeling. Not just as a sign of piety but the attitude.
The next thing is your condition of prayer. What I want to emphasize here on the condition is that you stop yourself. It’s very important that you stop. Everything stops. The world stops. Your work stops. All the busyness stops. All the other important things stop, like these next three weeks, a lot of things will not be done as usual. But we mean it, we’re going to stop. The whole Recovery is going to stop. Are you with me? We will resume but we will stop and really give ourselves to prayer. We were these few days discussing every time this year before the training, the Chinese-speaking saints always have a gospel meeting. And as we fellowship some brothers feel, brothers maybe this time we should stop and just devote ourselves to pray. I said I fully agree. You say we will not preach the gospel we will miss the gospel meeting. That’s right we will miss that. But this kind of prayer requires us to be utterly devoted; to be fully concentrated or else it can still or even the good things can distract you. The necessary things can distract you from such a prayer. Of course I mentioned already this kind of attitude or position means you’re ready to, you’re submitting before the throne. You’re ready to obey. You’re ready to listen or to hear. Would you not think even Mary sitting at the Lord’s feet had such a posture ready to hear? By the way you all should know that the first thing in prayer is not to speak but to listen. Some of us pray too quickly. Well we need to exercise the spirit especially when we are together. But personally, individually, you have to learn to listen first. So this posture also conveys that because if you do not listen how do you know what to pray. You are just praying from yourself; from your concept or from your point of view.
The seventh point is the dealing in prayer. We are not even talking about prayer yet. Well this is very clear. This is very simple and you all know that this is the confession of sins. When you really pray, in my experience, always brings up some sins; something in me that is wrong. Many times it’s my attitude towards my wife or something. You see what I am saying? It could be big; it could be small. Many times ordinary but nevertheless something the Lord is not pleased with. Something that is already becoming a blockage. So the first thing I have to do even before I pray is to confess my sins. This is true in both the Old and New Testament – confess your sins. That’s the dealing. Your wrongdoings, your trespasses, your offenses, to both God and men. When we come to offer the offering, we remember we have an offense with our brother we should go ask to be reconciled. The principle is to clear up everything, so that thing between you and the throne, obstacle or insulation by confession.
The next point number eight is the defense in prayer meaning that when we pray, the enemy Satan will inevitably attack mainly with accusation. Do you have this experience? I have a lot of this experience. When I don’t pray it seems like the enemy is not around but when I start to pray, whoo, even sometimes in the midst of some strong prayer some attack came. Some fiery darts; some kind of an accusation. Well what is the defense? The blood of Jesus. So never forget that you are praying under the blood and never forget to use that blood. But I would not only say the blood that defense. I have something else and that is the word of their testimony. You have to swat him away like a fly. You have to bat him away like a fly with your word, with your declaration. Many times inwardly I have to say Satan back off. Satan disappear. Satan get out of here, I am praying. You see you have to even testify. So this is our defense, the blood of Jesus and the word of our testimony (Rev 12).
Number nine this is a big one and that is the burden for prayer. And you all have heard the little clip by Brother Lee that if you don’t have a burden you or can’t pray and if you don’t you better ask God for mercy if you don’t have a burden. Well brothers actually I would tell you this that it is not hard to get a burden. You don’t think it is so hard to get a burden but I qualify that by saying this. It’s not hard if you are proper. If you are normal. If you are with the Lord all the time. If you are in the spirit. If you are fleshly, you are out of it, you are dead, you know what I mean, of course it’s hard to get a burden. But a normal Christian, a normal member, if you are right with the Lord and you have a life of abiding, you are in the spirit, I tell you, you always have a burden. It’s actually unusual that you don’t have a burden of some sort. It’s not like where’s the burden? Oh, how come I don’t have a burden? It’s like I have so many burdens, which ones? You see the difference? I testify to you all, in my serving life, the day you take away my burdens, I’m finished. I don’t even know how to serve. I don’t know how to serve without a burden. In fact there is no such thing. You serve because you are burdened. You are not here serving as a full-timer because you have nothing else to do; you have two years to sort of don’t know what to do and so you are serving. Wrong. You should be serving here because you have a burden. And you continue to serve because you have a burden then that is normal; that’s not exceptional; that’s not unique. That’s normal. So learn to be a serving one, always have burden within. That burden is a kind of weight, healthy weight, that kind of burden is a kind of healthy pressure within you concerning persons and situations, concerning needs, concerning matters related to the Lord’s interests. That’s the burden simply put. Whether it’s what Brother Lee carries, so high and so heavy, or someone like us, a starting full-timer bears, it’s still a burden. So when you pray, there has to be this kind of a burden. Don’t take this word “burden” negatively as a bad thing. It’s actually an enjoyable thing. It’s actually once you get used to it, to live with it; it’s um you cannot do without it. You see this person, that person, this need, that need. Burden is actually the Spirit in you conveying to you the Lord’s heart, the Lord’s wants. That’s what it is. In this sense I say if you don’t have a burden, you probably don’t have the Lord, in a practical way, in a present way. Almost the burden of the Lord is the Lord Himself. When the burden comes to a prophet, that’s the speaking and even Jehovah coming to that prophet. Without that, he has no word, no ministry, no prophecy, no nothing. We operate by burden.
Ten, the sense of prayer. This is a big one needing a lot of time. We don’t have that time. This is perhaps one of the most important lessons to learn in prayer and, that is, to pray by the inner sense. Not by some points on a sheet of paper. That may act as an initial guide but it will not guide you into the instant burden, the instant move of the Spirit. That comes from the present anointing. We need to pray anointed prayers, brothers and sisters, not merely prayers but anointed prayers, that means prayers that is fully of the Spirit, prayer that is conveying the present feeling of the Spirit. You have in Romans 8, we don’t know how to pray, but the Spirit, we groan or the Spirit groans. We groan without utterance because “He who searches the heart knows what is the mind of the Spirit.” Of course, that’s the Lord. The point is here that we don’t know how to pray, which is really the case all the time. Don’t say, “I know how to pray” – no, you know how to pray an hour ago but this moment we’re we are praying again, I don’t know how to pray, I need the Spirit again. I need the Spirit to help me and intercede with groaning. The point is, that groaning – you see, when you groan because you don’t’ have the utterance, that groaning, if it’s based on the sense o fellowship the Spirit has a lot to it, a lot of content. These are the deeper things we need to learn. So, what do you have to do? You have to learn to when you pray not to be so quick. Things just coming out of your mouth from your morning revival or something. That’s not bad – I’m not against that. But as you move into real prayer, which is always the discharge or the purpose or the Lord’s burden, you must reach the Spirit, you must touch the Spirit, you must sense the Spirit, discern the Spirit. We to this day don’t have a tape with Watchman Nee’s speaking. I never heard one. But we were told by some biographies and testimonies that Brother Nee both spoke and prayed very slowly. Now I’m not here to make this some thing – “let’s all start praying slowly” but I’m making a point that when he spoke and prayed, he was inwardly, every word and sentence, looking to the Lord, looking to the Spirit for something instant. Sometimes we do need to slow down a bit and not just like a machine gun. You need to look. That sensing of the Spirit is to sense His burden, to sense His flow, to sense His emphasis and even to sense His speech, His words. Now the next point I’m going to get into is called the utterance and these two are related. But if you are sharp, keen, or practiced in sensing the Spirit, you would even find the Spirit giving you words, giving you a particular sense to pray in this way. Now the burden is the same but the way that you approach that burden might be quite different. I’m praying for Joshua. So I pray for him. This time I pray in this way for Joshua. Next time I repeat it, I don’t have the feeling. You see? Next time the Spirit leads me to pray from this angle for Joshua. Now if you don’t sense that, and only pray from this direction, the effectiveness of your prayer will be limited. The Spirit knows that situation, what he needs, I don’t know. Am I right? It’s that real. The Spirit is that real. This is why I say that there is no other exercise that matures you, that helps you to know the Lord, to know Spirit but by prayer.
Pray by the anointing. The anointing is the teaching, the moving of the Spirit, that is very evident when you pray. Sometimes when I pray, I even feel like it’s like the Spirit holding my hand, to write something. You know what I mean? It’s almost like I’m that instrument, that channel, that vehicle – but it’s the Spirit doing it. When that happens, it’s not just you praying but the Spirit praying. And that means that it is Christ praying, not you. You are by that time mingled with the Lord, you are so one with the Lord that your praying is just the Spirit. To the point that even the words is just the Spirit. I hope that all of this fellowship is not wearing you out. You need to advance, brothers and sisters! You are full timers! You should not say that you are too young, this is too detailed. You should not say this.
The next one is the utterance in prayer, the right words that would express the burden and the leading of the Spirit. I talked to the UCI team the other day a little bit on these points. I just use this as an example – in the first message I gave, I gave a long prayer. I prayed for longer than usual. I would like to tell you about that prayer – that the general structure of that prayer and even the thought, the line of thought of that prayer, and even in a few instances, a number of instances, even the words, the utterance of that prayer came to me several hours before the message. It was not me sitting in the front row and then it came to me. No, several hours. And in those few hours as I was preparing the message, I was preparing a prayer. That preparation was not me composing a prayer, I wrote nothing down. But it was my being with the Lord, sensing the Spirit and the more I am in that thoughtful mode in the Lord’s presence things became clear and even utterances, very particular utterances. So when I stood up, I had no prayer draft or script. No, we don’t do that. But yet I tell you that there is a script – an instant script from the Spirit. But I could not do that if I had never learned, you see? And I’m not saying that I’m a fantastic praying person. I’m giving an example. Powerful, effective prayers originate from the Spirit. And you have to learn to follow the Spirit in your prayer. It takes time and practice to learn. Brother Lee often used the example of the Canaanite woman who said with the crumbs. I tell you when she said, “Even dogs eat the crumbs” she hit it with the Lord, that got the Lord. He said, “Great is your faith!” I mean – she got the utterance. She didn’t just beg, “Oh Lord, give us this or that.” She said, “Even the dogs eat the crumsb.” That word touched the Lord, that utterance, that very simple particular utterance effected something on the Lord’s side. Don’t think that utterance doesn’t matter. Sometimes when you don’t have the utterance, the burden cannot be discharged, like the baby cannot come out because you don’t have the words or the wrong words. But other times when the right word, you just feel the flow and burden discharged. You have to learn. This is not eloquence, this is not fancy words. This is utterance, the expression, or rather to give the Spirit’s burden, the inner burden, an outward expression. It is very important.
The twelfth point is the supply of prayer. You would say, “What is that?” I would say two things – number one it is the Spirit. When you pray – some people dislike prayer because they have never enjoyed the supply in prayer. When you have experienced this, my, it will give you a taste you will never forget. An unforgettable taste that you don’t get elsewhere. It is like the king of Salem coming with bread and wine. There is a particular diet and supply for a praying priest, praying person. When you pray, actually you derive supply from your prayer. In your praying, there is the supply. The very prayer that you pray turns around and waters you and nourishes you because that’s really not you, that is the Spirit. You have that experience? You can pray for a long time because you keep being supplied while you pray. Some people pray for five minutes and are pooped because they don’t know the supply. They just try to eek out a prayer by their natural strength, so after awhile, there is nothing more. How can we have hours of prayer? I tell you there is the energizing factor, that is the supply of the Spirit. There is another supply I tell you – that’s the Word. When you pray and when the Spirit gives you the words, and those words are often times the Scripture, I tell you – that’s supply. You are actually pray-reading at that time, in that kind of way. I tell you the supply, oh, the supply! Even Scriptures that you have not thought of came to you, became living at that moment, I tell you – it became food to you. The Lord says, “I have food that you don’t know about.” There is food in this kind of prayer.
The next point I want to give is the specificity of prayer. That means we have enter into prayer more and more, not remaining in always something general or superficial or even generic. Always praying some general, “Oh Lord, build up Your Body.” There is nothing wrong with that, but it’s quite general. What do you mean, “build up Your Body”? This time, yesterday the email went out – eight points of prayer, but even those eight points are general. Today we’re going to develop them. Twelve more points specifically for North America. That’s more specific. But if you ask me, even that is not specific enough. You say, “How specific do I have to get?” When you pray in two or three, or with your locality or with others, you bring all of these general points down to a level and the Lord will touch you to pray – maybe for your campus or this or that situation. Very, very specific. Specific prayers are never aimless or pointless but they are particular, they are definite, they are explicit. The Lord says, “What do you want?” Didn’t the Lord say that? “What do you want? Tell Me what you want.” Brother Lee says that a lot of times we give messages in prayer. The Lord doesn’t want to hear messages but wants to hear what you want. Be specific. Sometimes there is just one item and we need to pray for twenty minutes, very specific.
Following this point, number fourteen, is the thoroughness of prayer. I suppose why sisters are often better praying ones is that they are more thorough. The brothers – hallelujah it is done! You know? The thoroughness means that you are even detailed, meticulous, precise. Look at Abraham’s glorious intercession in Genesis 28 – that was specific, that was thorough. He was latching on to the Lord, dialoguing with the Lord, he actually even negotiated with the Lord to great detail, down to numbers concerning Sodom and Gomorrah. That’s a case in point. A lot of prayers in the Old Testament are very thorough. This does not mean vain repetition or mere wordiness. It is by burden. We need to learn to be thorough. I pray for Joshua and say, “Oh Lord, Joshua!” What does that mean? A specific and thorough prayer means that I would pray for this about Joshua, that about Joshua, the future of Joshua – that level of specificity, we need to learn.
The next point – the fervency in prayer. Or you can use the word intensity in prayer. That’s very important. I find that a lot of times our prayer becomes heartless. You just want to be dutiful. “I need to pray so I need to pray.” There’s no fervency, there is no intensity. And what are the factors of this kind of fervent prayer? I would say desperation, urgency. How about that? That would result in a kind of earnestness. This kind of intensity counts a lot. Like Hannah’s prayer for Samuel. She was like a drunken woman, “Give me a child or I die!” That is intense, that is life and death, that is fervent. Don’t you think that the Lord would give ear to that kind of prayer more than some heartless prayer in some church today, standing and sitting, reading from a prayer book? There’s no sincerity. The heart is not there. Not just a strong spirit but a desperate heart invites the Lord’s answer.
The next point – the fasting in prayer. Fasting again follows fervency in that is not just a ritual or tradition, but it is due to some sense of burden that you would fast, you would miss the food and pray. That should not be something so uncommon or we should not be scared about that. We should practice it as an ordinary thing, so long we have that inner burden within us.
Seventeen – the lingering in prayer. Lingering. A lot of times, after you pray, you can just say, “The end.” But sometimes there is a feeling to linger. Again, that is the case somewhat with Abraham. That lingering, I tell you, determined the fate of a family – Lot. Lingering means you loiter, you stay around. You remain. You persist even. You wait on the Lord fervently. You wait on the Lord fervently. You discharge a burden. Lord Jesus, is there still something? That kind of feeling. It takes spiritual strength to linger and I can only say that you have to experience this in your prayers.
The next point – eighteen, the faith in prayer. Clearly faith and prayer are inseparable. Faith means believing God’s promise, that your prayers are heard and that the will of God is done. You have to pray with such faith. Not manufactured faith but by this time, all the things I have described to you. You should have that faith in you. Believing.
Nineteen – the worship in prayer. Paul says, “Always praying with thanksgiving.” That is implied here. That means, brothers and sisters, after we pray, we need to worship. Worship the Lord that you have come to know His burden, you have the privilege of channeling that burden, you have a part in this ministry, that you experience this oneness with Him and you are able to accomplish His burden. You acknowledge that He is the source. You acknowledge that He is the one who processes this and can execute this. You praise Him for listening and answering your prayers. You are full of praise, thanksgiving, and worship. This is important. If we don’t have thanksgiving, something is not concluded. It’s like an exclamation point and something is not completed. So we say, “Thank You Lord! God, we worship You!”
Twenty – I call it the end of prayer. You say, “Even we have to learn the end of prayer?” Yes, I think so. The end of prayer should always be a situation of repose, of peace, of tranquility, of oneness with the Lord, of satisfaction. There should be that sense, there should be that result if our prayer is proper. I only will say this much. Now let me give you just a few more points.
Twenty-one is the perseverance in prayer – Brother Ed Mark’s message was on perseverance in prayer. That means to be watchful, to be steadfast, not just one time but continually. You know, sometimes after some long prayer you think, that is good enough for that month. Well, I tell you that tomorrow you pray again and you will find out more prayers, more burden, more strength. No, it’s not for the month but just for the day. That calls for perseverance. Actually, the key to prevailing prayer is perseverance. The prayers described in the book of Revelation that are effective, those under the altar, under the earth, and all the prayers of the saints are characterized mainly by how long they have been praying. This is like the prayer of the woman to the unrighteous judge. The perseverance is finally what caused the heavens to act. One prayer does not do it. The church has been praying for two thousand years – Come Lord Jesus! -and He’s still not back and the same with so many things..
Twenty-two – the next few points I would say touches the corporate side. Number one – the harmony in prayer. I don’t need to talk about that. Like music, agreeing with each other. Praying with one score, corporately. That is in fact the next point – the power and authority.
Twenty-three – the authority of prayer, again very much related to the Lord’s name, for sure, but also to the Lord Spirit and finally the Lord’s Body. Name, Spirit and the Body is what gives us the authority in our prayer. The name doesn’t mean we just say “in the name of the Lord Jesus” but the name means to be one with the person of the Lord who is the Spirit. The Spirit is the Spirit of power, the Spirit of authority, which Spirit is poured upon the Body. The Body is what has all the authority that is given to the ascended Christ, the resurrected Christ. We must pray with that authority especially when we are together to have the powerful prayer.
Twenty-four – I would say the flow of prayer. When we are praying together, brothers and sisters, learn to pray with the flow of the Spirit. When you are praying by yourself you have the sense the inner flow. When you are praying with a group, you have to sense the flow in the Body, in the church. Very, very important to find that flow, and follow that flow and strengthen the flow so that we don’t pray diversely or in a fragmented way but pray one prayer.
I think that this is quite good enough. You all should also know the clear difference between petition and intercession. Petition is your asking God, inquiring God, your supplicating, your requesting, making your request known. Intercession is when you interpose, intervene, and sometimes you intercept. Intercede means you are involving yourself, you intervene in some case or some situation. You play the role of an advocate. You play the role of an intercessor, you play the role even sometimes of a mediator, of a negotiator in your prayer. So I pray for Joshua, I intercede for him, on his behalf, for his spiritual well being or for some other situations and needs. Paul’s word is petition, prayers (general), intercession with thanksgiving – those four words.
I took too much of your time. How do you feel about this? Obviously in three weeks you won’t become an expert. Needless to say a few days. This is a life long learning. If you would learn to be such a praying one, you service to the Lord would go up. These three weeks, let us say to the Lord, “Teach us to pray.”
There are twenty points – eight points and then twelve points that is all on beseeching.org. It will be posted there. I would have this suggestion, if you don’t know what to do with those points – too many, overwhelming. One suggestion is to take one point a day, that is twenty days. Don’t get overwhelmed and don’t just pray all eight points together. You cannot do that. You must concentrate and focus on some burden for that day with your group, and so forth. Now for you full timers, I would say that you are meeting together for your coordination daily anyway. You should carve out this time to devote more to prayer. Even put aside some reading maybe that you do on your own. Devote, schedule longer hours of prayer. For you to pray together as a team for one hour is at least in these twenty-one days. The Lord may lead you to pray even more than that. There will be some stretching, some demand. That is good because that enlarges our praying capacity. I hope that you will also grab one or two students, or people you serve with and have that kind of two or three prayers, which is kind of an exercise for these twenty-one days. Some of us brothers we’re praying on Monday, just once a week. From the whole area, it’s hard to come together. We are intensifying prayer everywhere. At BfA we’re having a lot more prayers. In these few weeks, in the churches, however the brothers are leading you in your church. This time is quite unusual, brothers and sisters. No telling what this prayer will do. Do you have those eight points? Do you have those twelve? They are on the web already? Can you read the eight and then read the twelve?
Eight Points for Prayer
1) The increase and spread of the testimony of the Lord’s recovery to all the nations to fulfill the Lord’s prophecy in Matthew 24:14 concerning the announcing of the gospel of the kingdom for the consummation of this age.
2) The worldwide propagation of the ministry of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee through various media to gain the seeking people in all the languages, to perfect the believers for their growth in life unto maturity, to produce the one new man, and to prepare the bride of Christ for His coming.
3) The binding of the powers of darkness that are behind all oppositions from all religions, all human organizations, and all worldly powers for the casting down of Satan and the ushering in of the kingdom of God.
4) The raising up of the next generation of saints to overcome sin, the world, the flesh, and the self and to be constituted with the divine life and the divine truth, so that the move of God may continue on the earth for the accomplishment of His divine economy.
5) The aspiration for, the realization of, and the continuation of the new revival among all the saints in the Lord’s recovery through the pursuit of the high peak truths, the practice of the God-man living, and the universal shepherding by all the saints.
6) The vitalization of the saints and the churches in the Lord’s recovery through the exercise and practice of all the aspects of the God-ordained way to become the living testimony of Jesus in all localities for an anti-testimony to the degradation around us.
7) The building up of the local churches for the building up of the organic Body of Christ through the growth in life of all the saints unto maturity to consummate the New Jerusalem as the eternal, corporate expression of the processed and consummated Triune God.
8) The continuation of the ministry of prayer in all the churches for the intercession concerning the world situation and the Lord’s move in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Australasia, and Israel, for the consummation of this age.
Twelve Points Specific for North America
1) The intensified preaching of the high gospel, the propagation of the word of the ministry, and the establishment of the new local churches, for the increase and spread of the Lord’s testimony.
2) The people who are predestinated by God: (1) sinners to be saved and seeking believers to come to the full knowledge of the truth, (2) proper and useful ones to be gained for the recovery, and (3) a demographically proportionate number of local people to be added to the recovery.
3) All ages of saints in the churches to function according to their capacity, especially in the raising up of the next generation – the children, young people, and college-age saints 0 for the Lord’s testimony according to His economy.
4) The growing ranks of young working saints (ages 20-40) in the churches, both the job-dropping and job-keeping saints, including the graduates of the full-time training, to be strong in the spirit to overcome in order to live Christ for the church and to be normal functioning members in the service of the Body to bear the primary burden in the practical church life.
5) All the saints to be renewed in their heart toward mankind, to be laboring priests of the gospel, to personally, directly, regularly, and faithfully visit and contact people for their spiritual welfare, to bear remaining fruit, and to shepherd the Lord’s sheep for the increase of the recovery and the building up of the Body.
6) The campus work and the community gospel work.
7) The full-time training (FTTA, FTTA-XB, FTTAMx, FTTA-MA), including the trainees, the trainers, and the serving ones.
8) The services of and the serving saints at Living Stream Ministry, Defense and Confirmation Project, Bibles for America, Bibles for Canada, and Rhema Literature Distributors.
9) The forces of religious opposition to the Lord’s recovery to be bound, the names of Watchman Nee, Witness Lee, and the local churches to be cleared from blame, and the number of friends of the recovery among Christian leaders to grow.
10) The establishing and preservation of strong and spiritual marriages and healthy and sanctified families as solid foundational units for the building up of the local churches.
11) The preservation of society from moral degradation and corruption, especially in the United States, which is still a strategic and leading nation for God’s move in His recovery on the earth today.
12) The hand of God to be upon the leaders in the highest levels of government to guide the North American nations in the fear of God, in reverence for God’s Word, and in respect for His principles, so that the church life can go on in peace.