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Gospel Reader

What does it mean to truly pray?

Relevant Words of God:

What does it mean to truly pray? It means speaking the words within your heart to God, and communing with God having grasped His will and based upon His words; it means feeling particularly close to God, feeling that He is in front of you, and that you have something to say to Him; and it means being especially radiant within your heart, and feeling that God is especially lovely. You will feel especially inspired, and after hearing your words your brothers and sisters will feel gratified, they will feel that the words you speak are the words within their hearts, the words they wish to say, and that what you say represents what they want to say. This is what it means to truly pray. After you have truly prayed, in your heart you will feel at peace, and gratified; the strength to love God will rise up, and you will feel that nothing in your entire life is more worthy or significant than loving God—and all this will prove that your prayers have been effective.

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

The lowest standard that God requires of people is that they be able to open their hearts to Him. If man gives his true heart to God and says what is really within his heart to God, then God is willing to work in man; God does not want the twisted heart of man, but his pure and honest heart. If man does not truly speak his heart to God, then God does not touch man’s heart, or work within him. Thus, the most crucial thing about praying is to speak the words of your true heart to God, telling God of your flaws or rebellious disposition and completely opening yourself up to God. Only then will God be interested in your prayers; if not, then God will hide His face from you.

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

Sometimes, looking to God doesn’t mean speaking clearly when people pray to God for something, or for God to guide them in some way, or for God to protect them; rather it is that, when they encounter some issue, they are able to call on Him sincerely. So, what is God doing there? When someone’s heart stirs, and they have this idea: “Oh God, I can’t do this myself, I don’t know how to do it, and I feel weak and negative,” when these thoughts arise in them, does God not know about it? When these thoughts arise in man, are people’s hearts sincere? When they call on God sincerely in this way, does God assent to help them? Despite the fact that they may not have spoken a word, they show sincerity, and so God assents to help them. When someone encounters an especially thorny difficulty, when they have no one to turn to, when they feel especially helpless, they trust in God as their only hope. What are their prayers like? What is their state of mind? Is it sincere? Do they have any mixed purpose at that time? When you trust God as though He were the last straw that you clutch onto to save your life, when you hope God will help you, only then is your heart sincere. Though you may not have said much, your heart has already stirred. That is, you give your true heart, your sincere heart to God, and God listens. When God listens, He sees your difficulties, and He guides you, enlightens you and helps you. When is man’s heart at its most sincere? When they are at the end of the line.

from “Young People Should See Through the Evil Trends of the World” in Records of Christ’s Talks

Prayer is not a case of going through the formalities, or following procedure, or reciting the words of God, which is to say, prayer does not mean parroting words and copying others. In prayer, you must give your heart to God, sharing the words in your heart with God so that you may be touched by God. If your prayers are to be effective, then they must be based on your reading of God’s words. Only by praying amid God’s words will you be able to receive more enlightenment and illumination. A true prayer is shown by having a heart that yearns for the requirements made by God, and being willing to fulfill these requirements; you will be able to hate all that God hates, upon the basis of which you will have knowledge, and will know and be clear about the truths explained by God. Having the resolution, and faith, and knowledge, and a path by which to practice after praying—only this is truly praying, and only prayer such as this can be effective. Yet prayer must be built upon the foundation of enjoying God’s words and communing with God in His words, your heart being able to seek God and being at peace before God. Such prayer has already reached the point of true communion with God.

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

I hope that the brothers and sisters are able to truly pray each and every day. This is not adherence to doctrine, however, but an effect that must be achieved. … You should say: “O God! I wish to fulfill my duty. In order that You may be glorified in us, and may enjoy the testimony in us, this group of people, I can but devote my entire being to You. I beg You to work within us, so that I can truly love and satisfy You, and make You the objective that I pursue.” When you are possessed of this burden, God will surely make you perfect; you should not only pray for the sake of yourself, but also for the sake of doing the will of God, and for the sake of loving Him. Such is the truest kind of prayer.

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

The more you live a spiritual life, the more your heart will be occupied by the words of God, always concerned with these matters and always bearing this burden. After that, you can reveal your innermost truth to God through your spiritual life, tell Him what you want to do, what you’ve been thinking about, your understanding of and your own way of seeing God’s word. Don’t hold back anything, not even a little bit! Practice speaking the words within your heart to God, tell Him the truth, and don’t hesitate to speak what’s in your heart. The more you do this, the more you will feel God’s loveliness, and your heart will be pulled more and more toward God. When this happens, you will feel that God is dearer to you than anyone else. You will never leave God’s side, no matter what. If you practice this kind of spiritual devotional on a daily basis and do not put it out of your mind, but treat it as your calling in life, then God’s word will occupy your heart. This is what it means to be touched by the Holy Spirit. It will be as if your heart has always been possessed by God, as if there has always been love in your heart. No one can take that away from you. When this happens, God will truly live inside you and have a place within your heart.

from “A Normal Spiritual Life Leads People Onto the Right Track” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

The Man’s Fellowship:

True prayer starts from when a person can purely open his heart wide to God. When a person can say to God what is in his heart, can truly lay his heart bare, can recount to God his own true difficulties and corrupt state, and then beg for God’s mercy, beg for God’s salvation, this is speaking what is in his heart. In God’s view, even though a person is immature and does not understand the truth, as long as he can open his heart to God, God will be very satisfied; God’s requirements for man are not high.

from “How to Achieve True Worship of God” in Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life (IV)

How does your prayer mean that you are laying your heart bare to God? If you pray with the words that are usually on your lips, then your prayer would be going through the motions; like two people saying to one another those surface greetings and courtesies. A person asks, “How is the relationship between the two of you?” “So-so, I never open my heart, when we meet we just nod our heads and say a few words of greeting.” Is that genuine communion? If you want genuine communion, then don’t be concerned with this outer layer of words, whether you say them or not is no use. When you pray to God, you should speak heart-to-heart, take the words in your heart, the difficulties in your heart, the suffering in your heart, any control you are under, or any fatal spots in your heart, and pass them to God to let Him solve. When you are judged and chastised, pruned and dealt with, or when you are revealed in some trials and refinements, you should pray to God, “Help me to truly know myself, help me to know my real stature, help me to know how exactly I should do my duty in line with Your will.” If your speaking and praying can attain these results, that is true prayer. As soon as they say their prayer, some people would close their eyes, and those few common phrases would emerge. After that, as soon as they open their eyes, it is finished; is this praying? This cannot be called genuine communion, and at God’s side the Holy Spirit won’t work. Prayer is surrendering your heart, you are moved by your own words, you yourself feel: “I am saying this from the depths of my heart, this is my heart’s pain, these are the words in my heart.” When you are finished praying to God, your spirit is released, the heart feels enjoyment, you feel that is a true prayer, true communion with God; only prayer that achieves this result is true prayer.

from “Exactly How to Pursue the Truth and Practice the Truth in Order to be Saved” in Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life (IX)

What is it to have true communion with God? It is to commune with God about spiritual matters in life. Communion about spiritual matters in life, correctly speaking, is communion about entering into the truth of God’s words; it is communion about entering into the reality of God’s words. All that is the truth expressed by God’s words, people can enter it, and practice it in their experiences; this is achieved by prayer. Any prayer that is centered around how to enter the truth, how to enter God’s words is true communion with God. … Upon what foundation is true communion with God based? It is that people must have knowledge of God’s work, they must understand some truth, they must know what the purpose of God’s work is, why God does the work of the last days, what God ultimately wants from man, what God’s work aims to achieve. After understanding these things, one’s prayers can enter the correct track, one’s pursuit can also advance in the direction of salvation. Have your prayers now started to enter the correct track? Have you started to follow God’s requirements of man to pray, started to have true prayer in God’s words? You can seek to enter God’s words and all the truth expressed by God’s words, and seek real understanding of them; prayers that can attain these achievements are all the truest prayers, are all prayers in concert with God’s intention. Any prayer done without connection to the truth, to God’s words cannot be called a true prayer; such prayers are without meaning.

from “How to Enter Into True Communion With God” in Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life (IV)

Every time that you truly commune with God you ought to have these substantial issues and results. Only then can you say that you have truly communed with God. If you do not achieve these results, then you did not truly commune with God. What are these results? Firstly, when communing with God, we can come to know the truth of our corruption and the essence of our nature, achieving the result of knowing ourselves. In the presence of God, we should often reflect on the things we have done to see whether or not they actually conformed to God’s will, to see what it is we’ve relied on to live. If we have lived by the word of God, then that is testimony for entry into life. If we’ve lived by the philosophy of Satan, that is an expression of the corrupt nature of Satan, which is considered a transgression. Secondly, when communing with God, we not only achieve true knowledge of ourselves but we also achieve true knowledge of God, which is the result of communing with God. After achieving true knowledge of God, we will begin to revere God in our hearts, obey God in our hearts, and love God in our hearts, which will eventually bring forth in us the resolve to serve God. This is the result achieved by knowing God, and it is also the result achieved by communing with God. If we do not achieve these results in our communion with God, that is sufficient to prove that we have not entered the right track in our prayers, and that we have not actually communed with God. Some people say: “Well, I’ve prayed for many years, so does that mean that I’m in communion with God?” Then you have to measure this according to these results. Do you have the result of knowing yourself in your prayers to God? Do you have the result of seeking God’s will and the truth? Do you have the result of obeying God? Do you have the result of revering God? Do you have the result of loving God? If you do not have a single one of these results, then your prayers are hollow, they are meaningless, and you simply are not in true communion with God.

from “The Aim and Significance of Communion With God in Prayer” in Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life (V)