Chapter 36. How to Achieve True Worship of God
What is the Significance of Worshiping God?
What exactly is the significance of worshiping God? Why should we worship God? These are questions about which many people are unclear. It is as natural for the beings of creation to worship their Creator as it is proper and just and a matter of course. It is a holy duty that must not be shirked. Furthermore, it is an honor and a privilege for the beings of creation to worship their Lord and Creator who wrought the very universe and everything in it. The Creator’s almightiness and holiness are too great, so no created being can come close to Him. God is so almighty, great and awesome. If mankind, the beings of creation, were to see God and His glory, what would they be like? Do you have an idea? There is a passage in the Bible, the gist of it is that a person would die if they gazed upon the face of God, and he could not survive such an event. So, what does this illustrate? It illustrates how great God is, how holy He is and how insignificant mankind is. People are nothing more than dirt who can’t even gaze upon God. Let me provide an example: This is similar to the sun that God created. Can people approach the sun? No, they cannot. For us earthlings, when it’s noon time, the blistering heat of the sun can scorch someone until they are unconscious, and perhaps kill them in extreme circumstances. Mankind cannot approach the sun, which was created by God, so mankind cannot come anywhere close to God’s person. From this fact we can make the mental connection about what would happen if a person were to truly see God’s face. If a person did gaze upon God’s face, he would probably melt into nothing, right? However, some people do not understand this point and they are persistent in their desire to see God’s face for themselves, and they pray to God that He reveals His face for them to see. Is this reasonable? No, not at all. Why is it not? Firstly, people are irrational. Secondly, people overestimate themselves. If you don’t really understand yourself, would you dare look at God? God is so grand, great, and holy that mankind cannot even see His face. Mankind does not even have words to describe God’s person and substance. Some have said that “God is a raging inferno.” Is that description accurate? It is inaccurate. So how would you give the description? There are no words in the tongues of man to give it; there’s just no way to do it. God is so great that mankind has no way to describe Him. He is so holy and awesome that mankind is left speechless to describe His appearance. How then, should mankind treat God? Man can only worship God to commune with Him, and it is only through worship that man can express their desires to God. It is also only through worship that mankind can connect and communicate with God to understand God’s will as well as submit to Him and satisfy Him. Therefore, the only effective way to have regular communication with God is through prayer and worship. In the history of God’s work, God has appeared to man several times, but it has never been His real person that was shown. God speaks through fire or a whirlwind, but mankind has never seen God’s face; they can only hear His words. This is one of the ways that God appears to people. Today, we have experienced God incarnate speaking His word to us and it is through the truths issued forth from Christ that corrupt humanity is judged and punished, which is another kind of significant appearance of God. So today, when we communicate with God, it is only through prayer and worship. Besides prayer and worship, if we wish to speak to God face-to-face or see His real person, that is something that will never be possible. Are you clear on this? Let’s think about this a bit more. In the Book of Revelation, it is recorded that the cherubs wait at God’s side. Cherubs are angels, so what happens when they look upon God? Do you know? They bow down before God and cry out day and night “Holy, holy, holy.” They only have words of praise in their mouths for God; there is only worship, nothing else. They do not use many words to worship God, only the calling out of “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty!” So what does this illustrate? It shows that as mighty as the angels are, they stand before God with no way to describe His glory, and they have no other words to describe their reverence and admiration for God. What does this teach us? God is so great and holy! God truly deserves the praise and worship of all things in heaven and upon the earth! So, for God to allow the beings of creation to pray to Him and worship Him, it shows that He thinks highly of us. It is God’s greatest favor to us and shows His love for us. However, since we do not have a true understanding of worshiping God, we have not shown that we can worship Him; we only pester Him with incessant prayers that include requests for help, assistance for solving problems, and appeals to God for new opportunities. Such prayers are not true worship. Instead, they are attempts to exploit God. Now we know that if mankind does not come before God in worship, it shows how irrational mankind is, how mankind does not submit to God, does not understand Him, and does not know how to worship Him. Consider the angels in heaven: They worship Him constantly. Do the angels pray to Him for anything? No, they do not. The angels worship God continuously while we badger Him with prayers incessantly, one after the other. Mankind always asks for things, but never worships God; what does this signify? It shows just how blind and corrupt humanity is. They may have been believers for many, many years, but never truly worshiped Him; isn’t that being blind? It’s just like when a mother and father raise their child, yet their child not only doesn’t respect them, but doesn’t even acknowledge them as his or her parents. Isn’t that being blind? Isn’t this being an ungrateful child?! So, what does worshiping God do for people? Worshiping God can bring true joy and peace to people and it brings true life to mankind. A person who is able to live in front of God and worship Him shows that this person is rational, conscientious, dignified, and possesses good character. It shows that this person is able to defend his status as a being of creation and do his utmost to fulfill his obligations. If a person is able to pray to and worship God, it shows that he, as a being of creation and member of corrupt humanity, has truly turned toward God and returned before God. This is an example of witnessing. If someone has had faith in God for many years without truly praying to God or, furthermore, without truly worshiping God, is this someone who has genuinely turned toward God? No, this is not. Is this someone who has truly submitted to God? No, this is not. Then it is not even worth mentioning whether or not that person understands God.
What Exactly Is Worshiping God?
What exactly does it mean to worship God? This is a question that needs us to ponder. To define in a sentence what worshiping God means is something that is essentially impossible to express, but from the Book of Revelation in the Bible we can see how angels worship God, which does a very good job explaining this issue. The angels worship God by praising Him, which they do from the bottom of their hearts. They praise God continuously and without using many words. What does this illustrate? It illustrates that God is so great and almighty that it makes the angels lie prostrate before Him and continuously praise Him with no other words being spoken, only praises. How is it that the angels are able to praise God? The angels see the arrival of God’s glory and thus praise is a natural reaction for the angels. When people see the glory of God, they will immediately lie prostrate with hearts full of praise and no other words. This is a genuine reaction and is involuntary! What this matter shows is that the people who lack reverence for God haven’t the slightest understanding of God. It may be said that people who have faith in God but who do not worship Him lack a genuine understanding of God. If the Holy Spirit has really done His work on a person—having truly disciplined, judged, and chastised that person—then that person will know how awesome and almighty God is! The more experiences a person has with the Holy Spirit, the more of an understanding they will gain about God and the more reverence that person will cultivate for God; this is completely true. We see that people of different religious sects, when they resisted God to certain extent, all encountered God’s discipline and punishment. So later when they went before God, they despised and cursed themselves. They said that they were the devil who deserved damnation, not life but a hundred deaths. Why did they say these things? They must have experienced God’s punishment or discipline, which is the only thing that could inspire them to say such things. Therefore, those people who have seen God and immediately fallen to the ground, with hearts full of praise for God and no other words on their lips. For them, one hundred praises would be too few, as would ten thousand, and they would not feel these praises were too repetitive for these would fill all the words they have. So with this sentence of praise, perhaps only by saying this sentence countless times would they be able to express their true feelings. What type of frame of mind is this? Who can imagine it? No one can. If you saw a mountain collapsing toward you, what frame of mind would you be in? If you saw the entire ocean surging toward you, how would you feel? If you saw a lion and a tiger loping toward you, what would be going through your mind? Aren’t those feelings just spontaneous? Aren’t those feelings just within you and not something you yourself created? Could you see a lion and not be afraid? How afraid would you be? You would be paralyzed with fear. Would you have the will to resist? I think not. Do you think people are insignificant or not? They are so insignificant. When there is nothing happening, people can be quite arrogant and attentive to no one. But when things happen they become cowardly. People are precisely as insignificant as dirt on the ground. So, if you did see a bit of God’s appearance or what God has done, you would immediately lie prostrate and you could do nothing else but praise Him. Now you know exactly what makes us worship God, right? When people view God’s glory they immediately worship Him. At that time, they needn’t others teach them or study it, they will immediately know how to do it. Today we have spoken of practicing prayer and worship, and that is because we do not see God’s real person. We just practice speaking to God and how to worship Him in the depths of our hearts. If one day great disasters happen, you will know without the teachings of others. You will know how almighty God is and how majestic and wrathful He is. At that time, you will be able to say those words of worship or praise that you couldn’t say before, right? During the severe earthquake in Sichuan province in 2008, some people felt the same way. They said some words, and I listened and knew that they saw the actions of God. It is only through experiences that people can say these things. You can now think for yourself what exactly constitutes true worship; you don’t need people to explain it to you. If the only one true God, who created the heavens and earth and all things, appeared before humanity one day, would people not worship Him? Who could resist worshiping Him? Does worship come spontaneously to you? It is involuntary. It comes naturally from your heart. No one has taught you and it does not come from some subjective willpower or human ideologies, and it is not something you can control. It is an involuntary thing both for your body and mind! When I say these things, you are all able to imagine the almightiness of the God we believe in, right? At usual times, we should ponder to know God’s actions—the actions He revealed in the Age of Law, in the Age of Grace, and in the Age of Kingdom. As we ponder, we will have some reverence for God inside. In this way, we will have some true entry in our prayers.
How Should God be Worshiped?
How exactly should God be worshiped? Sometimes you will be able to use words to express your worship, at other times words will fail you, but your heart will worship Him, for your heart will lie prostrate before God and you will feel utterly insignificant. While you lie prostrate before God, full of reverence for God in your heart, trembling with fear, though you speak no words, your heart is worshiping God. Sometimes people view God’s actions and some words will form in their hearts, and they will continuously praise God. At other times people may see God is majestic and wrathful and they will continuously praise Him. Other people may see God has indeed done salvation work on them, and they repeatedly express their gratitude, praising God over and over again, with nothing but praise on their lips. All of this counts as worshiping God and is indeed true worship. In brief, the most important thing about worshiping God is that the praise for God comes from deep in your heart, and that your heart can’t help but lie prostrate before God in reverence of Him. You feel insignificant and feel that God is great and holy. These are all expressions of worship. Worship happens when people see the glory of God, when they see God’s appearance, when they truly experience His almightiness, experience His greatness and His majesty and wrath, which tolerate no offense from mankind. When people worship under these circumstances, it is indeed true worship. Worshiping God means returning His deserved glory to Him. When we are enduring God’s refinement we pray to God, seek out His intentions, and finally we see His glory. This is spiritually seeing God’s glory, and feeling His greatness and almightiness, His majesty and wrath, His righteousness, and His love. When your praises come from deep inside your heart, this is also genuine worship because you are returning God’s deserved glory to Him. Anytime someone spiritually sees the glory of God deep inside and they can express this with a voice of praise, that is also genuinely worshiping God. If worship depends on what people think or things that they have learned to say, that is not genuine worship; that is just normal prayer, do you understand? If you are not moved by the Holy Spirit and have not received the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment, and you just go by whatever words you have memorized, which you merely repeat a few times during prayer, is that worshiping God? No, it is not. If it’s just some words that come to mind or a few words you mumble in prayer to God, that is not worship. That is at best a common prayer. If what you say is nothing but impractical and empty words, then that doesn’t even count as a regular prayer and God will not acknowledge it.
There Are Several Substandard Ways of Praying
There are mainly five types of substandard ways of praying. The first type is praying with insincerity. By “insincere” you know what that means, right? You have seen religious people with their eyes closed while they mumble, just mumbling away for a long time and you can’t understand what they’re saying. Their mouths move very quickly because they say these words day after day. They’ll write down those words and any other good prayers in a notebook, which they will memorize. After they have it memorized, they’ll say it once every day and again the next day. Sometimes they’ll mumble their prayer and find that it didn’t take enough time, so they’ll mumble it through again once or several times, not realizing how many times they’ve repeated those words. People like this aren’t worshiping God with their heart, but just with their mouths. This is what is known as praying with insincerity. The second type is praying during religious ceremonies. Such prayers are usually done at the location of worship and in accordance with the requirements of the religion; the prayers are made based on the sequence of the ceremony. For the most part, this type of prayer is observing rituals and they are just empty words that are repeated. It is nothing more than mumbling those usual words, going through the motions, through a formality. It is not genuine worship of God. This is the prayer that follows religious rituals. The third type is deceitful prayer. So, what does deceitful prayer mean? It means telling lies and being deceitful in the presence of God. For example, it is saying things like: “Oh God, I am ready to dedicate myself to You” or “Oh God, I am willing to expend my entire life for You” or “Oh God, I will never depart from You” or “Oh God, I am willing to satisfy You in all things.” Yet, they never satisfy God in anything and those are simply empty promises. Isn’t that lying and being deceitful to God? Some people say: “Oh God, I will give my child to You and I will give myself to You.” Do they really offer those things up to God? They don’t. Some people say they will give this and that up to God, or even say they’ll give everything to God, but actually they didn’t give anything. Isn’t this lying and being deceitful to God? These are all examples of deceitful prayer. The fourth type is trying to reason with God or negotiate through prayer. What are the manifestations of reasoning with God or negotiating with Him? Some people say: “Oh God, why have You let this situation befall me? Why have I become sick? I have never been far away from You, never betrayed You, and never judged You, so why have You allowed me to become sick? I have expended myself for You over all these years, had faith in You for so many years, and I have always sought You out, prayed to You, and satisfied You. Why have You let me become sick?” Isn’t this arguing or negotiating with God? And others say: “Oh God, haven’t You promised us that no matter what difficulties there are, we can pray to You and appeal to You? As long as we make an appeal, You will agree. I have appealed to You, so why haven’t You responded to me?” This is reasoning and trying to negotiate with God, right? Have any of you made many prayers like that? There are many such prayers. The fifth type is a doubtful or testing prayer. People have doubts toward God, so words of doubt often appear in their prayers. They always test God by saying: “Oh God, do You really exist? If You do exist, give me a sign. If You do exist, You should do something so that I know.” Or: “Is there really a God? Maybe You can allow me to become a little ill, and if that really happens I’ll be certain that there is a God and believe that You exist.” Isn’t this doubting and testing God? God does not lend an ear to these five types of prayers. Moreover, He despises them. It is fair to say that everyone has more or less made some of these five types of prayers, right? So which type of prayer have you done the most? It would probably be praying with insincerity, or perhaps deceitful prayers, or maybe making groundless promises to God where you don’t follow through, right? Do you think it’s easy to deceive God? All you have to do is say a few words, you feel great. and that’s it. Isn’t someone who always does this trying to deceive God? Are people who often pray like this being honest with God? Have they given their hearts to God? Have they truly turned toward God? No, they haven’t. For these people, their faith resides in their mouths but their hearts haven’t turned toward God. Would they try to deceive God if their hearts had really turned toward Him? If an honest person lies to someone once, they feel that it’s a transgression, but they would not dare lie to God. For someone to pray to God and interact with Him with empty promises and is really too much. It is a serious offense against God’s disposition. Would you say that it’s okay for people to handle matters with other people this way? If your dealings with people always involve empty promises or deceit, would people stay in touch with you for very long? If you made empty promises to someone once, and then lied to them the next, people would see that and think: “He deceived me on this matter. I thought he was honest, but it turns out he isn’t. In the future, I will really have to think about what he says to me. I will have to be on my guard with him.” If you often deceive others, they will be on their guard against you, right? And if people are on their guard against you, you have failed as a person, so can you still be called a person? You have failed as a person and you have lost your reputation in the minds of other people, and no one will recognize you as an honest person; they’ll call you a liar. So what is a liar? It’s the spawn of the devil, right? If you wish to enter into genuine prayer, you must first suppress and resolve these several types of substandard prayer. What problems do these several types of prayers reveal about people? They reveal that people are corrupt, that people lack a conscience, lack sense, and lack humanity. These prayers reveal that, like the devil, people lie to God and try to deceive Him, and they try to reason and negotiate with Him. These prayers reveal that people do not obey God, that they doubt Him and test him. Aren’t all the things that the devil tries to do revealed here? Would you say that someone who makes all of these types of substandard prayers has been washed clean of their corruption? Do they understand God? Are they someone who reveres God? Do they submit to God? Has their heart turned toward God? They do not possess these things so they lack even the slightest reality of believing in God. People like this are certainly crooked and treacherous. They are people who test God, who try to deceive Him, and they are fond of reasoning and negotiating with Him. These people are utterly unreasonable. So, do people like that possess humanity? Isn’t that just being like Satan or the devil, or perhaps the spawn of the devil? The devil loves to lie just like that type of person loves to lie and where the devil loves to lie, reason, and negotiate with God, so does that type of person. This type of person is certainly thoroughly corrupted and shows ample examples of satanic behavior. Therefore, to enter into genuine prayer, the issues of corruption and the poisons of Satan that exist within these five types of substandard prayers must be thoroughly understood. For example, we must completely understand what deceitful prayers are comprised of—this needs to be summarized. What sort of nature do those insincere prayers belong to? Aren’t they dealing with God perfunctorily? They are irreverent to God and they don’t treat Him as He should be treated. You can respond to someone with insincerity, but if you treat God that way, isn’t that irreverent? It means you’re not treating God the way He should be treated. If you responded to your children this way, they would feel dissatisfied. If you responded to other brothers and sisters in the church this way, they would feel dissatisfied too. Someone might say: “You are not speaking to me from the heart; is this respecting me?” And are you someone who reveres God if you pray by following religious rituals? Do you have a true communion with God, or do you just lie to Him with what you say? Is this how you show your faith in God? Furthermore, we must clearly see the root causes and the essence of these five types of substandard prayers. Why are people capable of making these kinds of prayers? When people come before God they must first examine themselves closely by doing the following: Firstly, what will be in my heart as I pray to God? Secondly, what do I want to pray to God about, and should I pray to Him about this? I must have sense. Thirdly, what are my actual circumstances? How should I express the true feelings in my heart? You must thoroughly understand your own circumstances and then confide in God, speak to what’s in your heart, so that He may listen and think: “These are true words from this person’s heart. They have finally communicated heart to heart with Me and can speak the truth to Me. These are humane words and what a person should be like.” 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. … So how do we resolve the problem of these phony and deceitful prayers? This is the crucial question. Some people say: “If I don’t pray like that anymore it’ll be fine, right?” This isn’t to say that avoiding making those prayers will resolve the issue. If you want to stop saying those types of prayers but you are unable to, you must first resolve the root of the problem. What sort of nature is being revealed in each of the problems where someone, in praying, is being deceitful to God, insincere to God, just going through the religious rituals, or trying to reason or negotiate with God, or being doubtful and trying to test Him? What problem does it indicate when people treat God in this manner? Being capable of this means people are under what control? Do people who do this have room for God in their hearts? Are they treating God like God should be treated? Why would people dare to deceive God through prayer? How dare they use prayer to resist, deceive, test, and doubt God? Isn’t this an expression of resisting and betraying God? It is indeed. We must understand the essence of these problems. So why are you able to resist and betray God this way? What kind of thought control are you subjected to that makes you do this? What viewpoint is making you do so? You must recognize these issues before you can truly resolve them. You do not understand your corrupt essence and the root cause of your corruptions, so how could you use the truth to resolve these problems? How would you be able to achieve entering into God’s word? What must you do first to enter into the truth? You must eliminate your corruption. If you don’t, how can you enter into the truth? Truths are positive things, the reality of positive things. If you do not completely understand your corruption and thoroughly remove it, you will not be able to enter into the truth. Why do people try to deceive God? Why do people test God? We must clearly understand the truth to resolve this issue. So what aspect of truth should we understand? People are beings of creation and God is the Lord of creation. God is the Spirit and He is the source of people’s lives, so why can’t you treat God like God? What’s the problem? If you do it this way, what does that mean for your internal disposition? What does that reveal about your disposition? Do you have a conscience or reason? What is your stance? After you have understood the essence of these problems, you will see your actions before God and see exactly who you are before God. After seeing these things, you must immediately communicate with God about the different kinds of deceitfulness and resistance to God in your prayers, and you must communicate to God your understanding of how your corruption is revealed. You should speak clearly about all of this with God. It is unacceptable if you do not bring these things up before God; this can’t be settled privately. It simply cannot be done that way. Do not think that: “I know it in my heart so everything is fine. I’ll just be careful in the future and that will be enough.” Is that what the problem is? You must bring it before God to resolve it, examine it, and understand it, and you must ask for God to enlighten you. God will let you see the truth and the essence of your corruption, and He will show you why you deceived Him and resisted Him. You must then establish your resolve in the presence of God. He will show you how to repent and how you should pray to Him. This is the only way to achieve results. Are you clear on this now? God detests these five types of prayers that don’t meet His standards. It is crucial that we first understand them, resolve them, and eliminate them from our hearts.