Editor’s Note: Prayer is an indispensable part of everyday life for believers in the Lord, and a way to drawand obtain His enlightenment and illumination. Many of us, however, are troubled by this: Although we pray to God every day, we fail to gain God’s enlightenment and guidance. Actually, only when we engage in will God hear us and give us enlightenment and guidance. So, what is true prayer? How should we pray to be heard by God? The following content will tell you the answers.
1. Honestly Speak What Is in Our Hearts to God
God says, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).
“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.”
From these words, we see that since God is faithful and with Him, there is no deceit and no hypocrisy, God wants us to pray to Him in spirit and in truth. That is, when praying, we should tell Him our innermost thoughts and the truth, and confide in Him our true state and difficulties. Even if there are only a few words, as long as they come from our hearts and are sincere and true, then this is what true prayer is. Think about how the publican’s prayer was praised by the Lord Jesus in the Bible. Although in his prayer the publican only said, “God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13), these words were sincere. His prayer came from his heart, was sincere and earnest, and was speaking very honestly to God without falsehood, deception, or concealment. Therefore, the Lord heard his prayer and forgave his sins.
Most of the time, however, we say nice-sounding words to God in prayers, expressing our willingness to satisfy, love and obey Him, etc. But when encountering unpleasant environments, we fail to satisfy or love God, and even misunderstand, blame and shun Him. This shows we are just saying pleasant-sounding words to deceive God—can this be true prayer? And a lot of the time our prayers just cling to rules and are just spoken as a formality; though we do our morning watch and evening prayers every day, we just repeat the same words and are not speaking to God from the heart. Insincere prayer like this isn’t true prayer, either, so God won’t listen to it.
Therefore, when praying we mustn’t give empty promises or spout empty slogans to fawn on God, and mustn’t say prayers that are not sincere. Instead, we must be open and sincere with God, tell Him our innermost thoughts, and tell Him of our true state, and practical problems and difficulties. For example, if we don’t know, we can pray to God, “O God, I don’t know how to pray to be heard by You. Please enlighten and guide me.” This is honestly speaking what is in our hearts to God. Take another example. Disasters are growing ever greater and the prophecies of have basically been fulfilled, yet we haven’t welcomed the Lord. We can pray to God about this practical problem, “O God, the biblical prophecies of Your return have basically been fulfilled, yet I haven’t welcomed You. What should I do to greet You? Please enlighten and guide me.” When God sees our honest and earnest hearts, He will guide us to find the way to welcome the Lord. We will think of what the Lord Jesus said, “And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him” (Matthew 25:6). “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27). Revelation 3:20 says, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.” In Revelation chapters 2 and 3, “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” is mentioned a number of times. From this it can be seen that when the Lord returns in the last days, He will express the Holy Spirit’s words to the churches and knock at the doors to our hearts with His utterances. All those who focus on listening to to greet the Lord are and may attend the feast with the Lord. Therefore, when we hear someone testifying that the Lord has returned, we should actively seek to greet the Lord, and listen to see whether there is the expression of the truth. Once we determine it is God’s voice, we should accept and follow. This way we’ll be able to welcome the Lord.
If we often speak sincerely to God like this in prayers, that is, say true prayers before God, God will guide us. As a result, not only will we get ever closer to God, but we will find a path of practice and have our real problems and difficulties resolved. This is the fruit of true prayer.
2. Pray on the Foundation of God’s Words to Seek
God’s words say, “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.”
God’s words show us that true prayer is based on the reading of God’s words. We should pray from within God’s words to seek God’s will and requirements and understand the path of practice. This is what true prayer is. When God sees our hearts of longing for the truth, He will guide us.
For example, one day we read the following God’s words, “Then if any man shall say to you, See, here is, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; so that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” (Matthew 24:23–24). And if we don’t pray to God to seek and instead simply go by the literal meaning of these verses, we will wrongly think that all messages that preach of the Lord’s return are false, and will refuse to accept them. If we pray to God with a heart of humble seeking, however, it’s easy to discover that the Lord prophesied clearly, “I come quickly” (Revelation 22:7). So, if we hold the belief that all those who preach of the Lord’s coming are false, then isn’t this denying the Lord’s return? Obviously, that belief doesn’t conform to the Lord’s will. If we blindly against and reject it when hearing the news of the Lord’s return, then we’ll be very likely to shut the door on the Lord’s return. Having understood all this, we can pray from within those words of the Lord Jesus to seek, “O God, Your words are all the truth. I can’t understand Your meaning based on the literal meaning of these verses. Please enlighten and guide me to understand the true meaning of Your words and to find the path of discerning false Christs.” Through carefully pondering those words of the Lord, we’ll find that He has told us the characteristics of false Christs: False Christs in the last days only rely on imitating the Lord’s past work and showing some simple signs and wonders to deceive people. After grasping the characteristics of false Christs, we are able to discern them, so we won’t refuse to investigate the true way for fear of being deceived, and therefore we’ll have the chance to welcome the Lord.
If we often pray and seek from within God’s words, contemplating the real meaning of God’s words, and seeking God’s will and a path of practice, God then sees us as those who love the truth, and will enlighten us doubly and enable us to understand the path of practice in everything we encounter. This is the fruit of true prayer.
These are the two principles of practice for true prayer. If we often make such true prayers, we will surely receive God’s approval, have a way forward in all the things that happen to us, and get closer and closer to God.
Editor’s Note: From this fellowship, do you understand what true prayer is? If this article has been helpful to you, please share it with others. If you have any further questions, please contact us using the online chat buttons at the bottom. We’re online 24 hours a day ready to answer your questions.