What is true prayer? How should we pray in order to truly commune with God?

March 29, 2021

Relevant Words of God:

What is true prayer? It is telling God what is in your heart, communing with God as you grasp His will, communicating with God through His words, feeling especially close to God, sensing He is there before you, and believing you have something to say to Him. Your heart feels filled with light and you feel how lovable God is. You feel especially inspired, and listening to you brings gratification to your brothers and sisters. They will feel that the words you speak are the words within their hearts, the words they wish to say, as though your words were a substitute for their own. This is what true prayer is. After you have engaged in true prayer, your heart will be at peace and will know gratification. The strength to love God can rise up, and you will feel that there is nothing of greater value or significance in life than loving God. All this proves that your prayers have been effective.

Excerpted from “Concerning the Practice of Prayer” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

What about the content of prayer? Your prayer should proceed step by step, in line with the true state of your heart and the work of the Holy Spirit; you come to commune with God in accordance with His will and with what He requires of man. When you begin the practice of prayer, first give your heart to God. Do not attempt to grasp God’s will—only try to speak the words within your heart to God. When you come before God, speak in this way: “Oh God, only today do I realize that I used to disobey You. I am truly corrupt and despicable. I have only been wasting my life. From today I will live for You. I will live a life of meaning and will satisfy Your will. May Your Spirit always work in me, continuously illuminating and enlightening me. Let me bear strong and resounding testimony before You. Let Satan see Your glory, Your testimony, and the proof of Your triumph, manifest in us.” When you pray in this way, your heart will be completely set free. Having prayed in this way, your heart will be closer to God, and if you can pray in this way often, the Holy Spirit will inevitably work in you. If you always call out to God in this way, and make your resolution before Him, a day will come when your resolution is acceptable before God, when your heart and your entire being are gained by God, and you are ultimately made perfect by Him. For you, prayer is of utmost importance. When you pray and you receive the work of the Holy Spirit, your heart will be moved by God, and strength to love God will issue forth. If you do not pray with your heart, if you do not open your heart to commune with God, then God will have no way of working in you. If, after having prayed and spoken the words of your heart, the Spirit of God has not begun His work, and you have received no inspiration, then this shows your heart lacks sincerity, your words are untrue, and still impure. If, after having prayed, you have a sense of gratification, then your prayers have been acceptable to God and the Spirit of God is working in you. As one who serves before God, you cannot be without prayer. If you truly see communion with God as something that is meaningful and valuable, then can you forsake prayer? No one can be without communion with God. Without prayer, you live in the flesh, in bondage to Satan; without true prayer, you live under the influence of darkness. I hope that you brothers and sisters are able to engage in true prayer each and every day. This is not about following the rules, but about achieving a certain result. Are you willing to forgo a little sleep and enjoyment to rise early for morning prayers and enjoy the words of God? If you pray with a pure heart and eat and drink the words of God like this, you will be more acceptable to Him. If every morning you do this, if every day you practice giving your heart to God, communicating and engaging with Him, then your knowledge of God will certainly increase, and you will be better able to grasp God’s will. You say: “O God! I am willing to fulfill my duty. I am only able to consecrate my whole being unto You, so that You may gain glory from us, so that You may enjoy the testimony borne by this group of us. I beg You to work in us, so that I may become able to truly love You and satisfy You and pursue You as my goal.” As you take on this burden, God will surely make you perfect. You should not pray only for your own benefit, but you should pray also in order to follow God’s will and to love Him. This is the truest kind of prayer. Are you someone who prays for the sake of following the will of God?

Excerpted from “Concerning the Practice of Prayer” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Prayer is not a case of just going through the motions, following procedure, or reciting the words of God. That is to say, praying is not parroting certain words and it is not imitating others. In prayer, one must reach the state where one’s heart can be given to God, laying open one’s heart so that it may be moved by God. If prayer is to be effective, then it must be based on the reading of God’s words. Only by praying from within God’s words can one receive greater enlightenment and illumination. The manifestations of a true prayer are: Having a heart that yearns for all that God asks, and moreover desires to accomplish what He demands; detesting that which God detests and then, building on this foundation, gaining some understanding of it, and having some knowledge and clarity regarding the truths God expounds. Where there is resolution, faith, knowledge, and a path of practice following prayer, only then can it be called true prayer, and only this type of prayer can be effective. Yet prayer must be built upon the enjoyment of God’s words, it must be established on the foundation of communing with God in His words, and the heart must be able to seek God and become quiet before Him. Prayer of this kind has already entered the stage of true communion with God.

Excerpted from “Concerning the Practice of Prayer” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

When praying, you must have a heart that is quiet before God, and you must have a sincere heart. You are truly communing and praying with God—you must not try to wheedle God with nice-sounding words. Prayer should center upon that which God wishes to accomplish right now. Ask God to grant you greater enlightenment and illumination, bring your actual states and your troubles into His presence when you pray, including the resolution that you made before God. Prayer is not about following procedure; it is about seeking God with a sincere heart. Ask that God protect your heart, so that your heart may often be quiet before Him; that in the environment in which He has placed you, you would know yourself, despise yourself, and forsake yourself, thus allowing you to have a normal relationship with God and truly become someone who loves God.

Excerpted from “Concerning the Practice of Prayer” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

The minimum that God requires of man is that man be able to open his heart to Him. If man gives his true heart to God and speaks what is truly in his heart, then God is willing to work in him. What God desires is not the twisted heart of man, but a pure and honest heart. If man does not speak from his heart to God, then God will not move his heart or work in him. Therefore, the crux of prayer is to speak to God from your heart, telling Him your shortcomings or rebellious disposition, laying yourself completely open before Him; only then will God be interested in your prayers, or else He will hide His face from you. The minimum criterion for prayer is that you must be able to keep your heart quiet before God, and it must not depart from God. It may be that, during this phase, you do not gain a newer or higher insight, but you must then use prayer to maintain the status quo—you must not regress. This is the very least that you must achieve. If you cannot accomplish even this, then it proves that your spiritual life is not on the right track. As a result, you will be unable to hold on to the vision you first had, you will lose faith in God, and your resolution will subsequently dissipate. One sign of whether or not you have entered into spiritual life is to see if your prayers are on the right track. All people must enter into this reality; they must all do the work of consciously training themselves in prayer, not passively waiting, but consciously seeking to be moved by the Holy Spirit. Only then will they be people who truly seek God.

Excerpted from “Concerning the Practice of Prayer” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

How can people maintain a relationship with God? And what should they rely on to do this? They should rely on supplicating God, praying to God, and communicating with God in their hearts. With a relationship such as this, people live always before God, and such people are very peaceful. Some people spend their whole time in external actions, busying themselves with external tasks. After one or two days without the spiritual life, they feel nothing; after three or five days, or one or two months, they still feel nothing; they have not prayed, made supplication, or held spiritual communion. Supplication is when something happens to you, and you ask God to help you, guide you, provide for you, enlighten you, and allow you to understand His will and know what to do in line with the truth. The scope of prayer is wider: Sometimes you speak the words in your heart, talking to God of your difficulties or negativity and weakness; so, too, do you pray to God when you are rebellious, or else you speak to Him of the things that happen to you each day, whether they are clear to you or not. This is praying. The scope of prayer is basically talking and opening up to God. Sometimes it is done at regular times, sometimes not; you can pray whenever and wherever you wish. Spiritual communion is not overly formal. Sometimes it is because you have a problem, sometimes not. Sometimes it involves words, sometimes not. When you have a problem, you talk of it with God and pray; when you do not have a problem, you think of how God loves people, how He is concerned about people, how He rebukes people. You may commune with God at any time or place. This is what spiritual communion is. Sometimes, when you are out and about and you think of something that upsets you, you do not have to get down on your knees or close your eyes. You just have to say to God in your heart: “O God, please guide me in this. I am weak, I cannot overcome it.” Your heart is moved; you speak but a few simple words, and God knows. Sometimes you miss home and say, “O God! I really miss home….” You do not say who specifically you miss. You just feel down, and speak of this to God. Problems can only be solved when you pray to God and say what is in your heart. Can talking to other people solve problems? It is okay if you encounter someone who understands the truth, but if they do not—if you encounter someone negative and weak—you could have an effect on them. If you speak to God, God will comfort you, and move you. If you are able to read God’s words quietly before God, then you will be able to understand the truth and solve the problem. God’s words will allow you to find a way through, to get past this little hurdle. The hurdle will not trip you up, it will not restrain you, nor will it affect your performance of your duty. There are times when you suddenly feel a little down or uneasy inside. At such times, do not hesitate to pray to God. It may be that you make no supplication to God, there may be nothing you wish God to do or enlighten you with—you just speak to God and open up to Him at any time, wherever you are. What must you feel at all times? It is, “God is always with me, He has never left me, I can feel it. No matter where I am or what I’m doing—I could be taking a rest, or be in a gathering, or be performing my duty—in my heart, I know that my hand is led by God, that He has never left me.” Sometimes, recalling how you have passed each day over the past few years, you feel that your stature has grown, that you have been guided by God, that God’s love has protected you throughout. Thinking these things, you pray in your heart, offering thanks to God: “O God, I thank You! I am so weak and frail, so profoundly corrupt. Without You to guide me like this, I would not have made it to today relying on myself.” Is this not spiritual communion? If people can often commune in this way, will they not have much to say to God? They would not go many days without anything to say to God. When you have nothing to say to God, God is absent from your heart. If God is in your heart, and you have faith in God, then you will be able to speak of everything in your heart to Him, including those things you would speak of to your confidants. In fact, God is your closest confidant. If you treat God as your closest confidant, as your family whom you depend on most, rely on most, trust most, confide in most, whom you are closest to, then it will be impossible for you to have nothing to say to God. If you always have something to say to God, will you not always live before God? If you can always live before God, then at every moment, you will sense how God guides you, how He cares for and protects you, how He brings you peace and joy, how He blesses you, how He enlightens you, and how He rebukes you, disciplines you, chastens you, and judges and chastises you; all this will be clear and evident to you in your heart. You will not just muddle through each day, knowing nothing, only saying you believe in God, performing your duty and attending gatherings only for appearance’s sake, reading God’s words and praying on a daily basis, simply going through the motions—yours will not simply be this kind of external religious ceremony. Instead, in your heart, you will look to God and pray to God at every moment, you will commune with God at all times, and you will be able to submit to God, and live before God.

Excerpted from “If You Cannot Always Live Before God, You Are a Nonbeliever” in Records of Christ’s Talks

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