Formalistic Prayer Made My Life Suffer Loss
For a time I had no burden for my life entering. Especially when praying I was content merely to go through the motions, and after prayer I felt that my relationship with God was still very distant. I knew that praying this way was observing a regulation and achieved no results, but I thought to myself, “Anyway, saying something with my lips is better than saying nothing. If this is observing a regulation, I’ll observe it. Hasn’t God’s word said that the spiritual living must be kept, even as a regulation?” So I gave in to myself. Gradually, my spirit became darkened. When I read God’s words, I had no light and could not relate them to my states. And I always felt weak in my heart and did not have much confidence in performing my duty well.
One day, a sister learned of my state and fellowshipped with me, “God does not approve of formalistic prayer. We must have genuine prayer and spiritual fellowship so that we can receive the working of the Holy Spirit and our relationship with God can be normal. God’s word says that the spiritual living must be kept, even as a regulation, but that word has a background. It means that when God refines us or hides his face from us or when we are careful about our spiritual living but gain little, we don’t live in excuses and slack off and can at least keep our spiritual living. The purpose of God making this requirement is to keep our life from suffering loss, not to let us excuse ourselves by this word.” Then we read several passages of God’s word: “Prayer is really too important to you. When you pray and receive the working of the Holy Spirit, your heart will be moved by God, and your inner strength to love God will be stirred up. If you do not pray with your heart and do not fellowship with God with an open heart, God will have no way to work on you.” “God speaks new words and does new things every day. Yet you observe regulations, deceive God, and deal with God perfunctorily every day. So aren’t you one who resists God?” “I hope that brothers and sisters can make genuine prayers every day. But this is not observing a regulation. You must be able to achieve some result. … If you practice that every morning and exercise to give your heart to God and fellowship and commune with God every day, your knowledge of God will surely increase, and you will be better able to touch God’s heart.”
God’s words gave my heart a touch. Only then did I realize that making formalistic prayer is dealing with God perfunctorily and deceiving God and it is not approved by God at all. God does new work every day, and we must draw near to God with our heart and make genuine prayer so that we can receive the moving of the Holy Spirit, can have God’s guidance and receive new seeing and knowledge when eating and drinking God’s word, and can have strength to practice the truth. Only thus can our relationship with God be normal and can our life grow. In this period, however, I just prayed perfunctorily as a formality; as a result, the Holy Spirit had no way to work on me and my heart could not be moved by God’s Spirit. How then could my strength to love God be stirred up? Since my relationship with God was abnormal and I did not have the working of the Holy Spirit, how could I relate God’s words to my states when I read them? How could I understand God’s intention of arranging various circumstances for me? And how could I have confidence in performing my duty well? Yet I did not know this before. Although I realized that my praying was observing a regulation, I understood God’s word erroneously and excused myself. I was really too irresponsible for my life. Through the inspiration of God’s words and the exposing of the fact, I realized that formalistic prayers had made my life suffer loss. I was willing to practice according to God’s requirement without delay, and exercise to make genuine prayers every day, so as to restore my normal relationship with God.
After that, every time I prayed, instead of going through the motions, I consciously quieted my heart before God and brought my actual state and difficulty before God to seek earnestly. After a period of such practice, I felt that my relationship with God became much closer, and when I read God’s words, I could relate them to my states. Besides, I had great enjoyment in spirit and had resolution to perform my duty well. I have experienced that genuine prayer brings me so great a benefit. I will spend more time and effort on prayer to receive more moving of the Holy Spirit, so that I can be in a better and better condition before God, grow in life day by day, and be perfect by God step by step.
Luoyang City, Henan Province