I served as a worker in a rural church in China for over twenty years, after I became a Christian. One day, in the winter of 2007, my distant relative Xiaozhao paid a visit to me with another sister by the name of Yu. Because we all served the Lord for years, we communicated with each other about the things concerning belief in the Lord. In the conversation, I found that Sister Yu’s knowledge was full of the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit and edified me a lot. By the time the discussion was over, it was already noon, so I asked the two sisters to stay and have lunch in my home. Before the meal, my wife and I made a prayer at table, but I found they didn’t. After the meal, we continued a casual chat. Sister Yu said, “Brother, everyone who believes in the Lord knows our daily food and necessities are bestowed by the Lord. As a devout Christian, we ought to offer up thanks and praises to the Lord. But consider this: We say the same things at every prayer before every meal; will the Lord really hear such prayers of ours? Will He be pleased with them? In my opinion, the Lord won’t listen to such prayers, nor will He like them.” After I heard her words, my face darkened, and I said, “I was just wondering why you didn’t pray before the meal. I don’t agree with what you said. Our daily food and necessities are bestowed by the Lord; will He dislike it when we offer up thanksgiving prayers to Him for that? I’ve practiced it for over twenty years, and I’ve never heard such a saying that the Lord will disapprove of such prayers.” Noticing that I was a little displeased, Sister Zhao continued, “Brother, we don’t mean that it is wrong to pray, but that we should tell what’s on our mind to the Lord sincerely when we pray, rather than do it as a mere outward regulation. Thesaid, ‘But you, when you pray, enter into your closet, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father which is in secret; and your Father which sees in secret shall reward you openly. But when you pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.’ (Matthew 6: 6-7) The Lord already told us what His will was: He searches everyone’s heart and knows what we think within. He is waiting for us to open our hearts to Him and speak whatever is in our hearts, and He doesn’t want us to make prayers like a regulation. And the Lord also dislikes our repeating the same words every day. This is like our talk. Even we men will be bored when someone says the same words to us over and over again. Will God listen if we pray like that?” I answered back recalcitrantly, “Everyone in every denomination and sect prays in this way, and no one has ever raised any objection about it. It’s the first time I’ve heard such a saying.”
After hearing it, Sister Yu fellowshipped, “As we all know, whether our prayers are heard is not determined by us men, but by God. We as believers of God should do everything to God’s will and should not impose our own ideas and will on God. Take prayer for example. Previously, I thanked God before meals as you did. But after practicing it for a long time, I felt it was pretty boring and tedious. And such prayers made me feel more and more depressed in my heart, and I always felt it was a burden. Repeating the same words in my prayers for one or two hours was so meaningless. But because I had nothing new to say to God in prayers and always asked the Lord for something, I prayed like this in the meetings, ‘O Lord! May You arrange for messengers to enclose a yard with a fence and care for our meeting spots.’ Other brothers and sisters also prayed for their own benefits, such as a peaceful family, a successful career, and the bright futures of their children. Those who had no child prayed to God for a child. Those who didn’t get married prayed to God for giving them a good marriage. Even in the trivialities that their chickens were ill and oxen stopping eating, and so on, they always prayed to God. We regarded the Lord as the Savior who granted whatever was asked. Do you think such prayers are after the Lord’s heart? Man’s prayer is all for their own interests and selfish desires. And they have never sought what the Lord’s will is, nor do they pray for the Lord’s commission being carried out on earth. I used to pray like that. But later, I began to understand: Actually, whether it is a true prayer doesn’t depend on how or where you pray. A true prayer means that one has a true association with God with a quiet heart before God. In addition, we should say our prayers with sense and should not simply request the Lord to do this or that for us, for the Lord will never listen to such prayers at all.”
Seeing me listen to her carefully, the sister continued, “Brother! Let’s see how the Lord Jesus prayed in the Gethsemane. The Lord Jesus prayed to the heavenly Father from the position of a creature of God, and He prayed in a consultative tone, ‘[I]f it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will, but as You will.’ He prayed with an obedient heart instead of saying ‘please do for me’ constantly. At the last prayer, He finally touched God’s will and said, ‘My Father, … may your will be done.’ The Lord Jesus could be completely obedient without any personal choices or requirements, which shows that His obedience to God was absolute. Even when He fully knew that being crucified on the cross was very painful, He could still make that obedient prayer. By these deeds, isn’t the Lord telling us to emulate Him? The Lord has served as an exemplar to man and pointed out the way to draw close to Him and seek His will: We should pray to God reasonably and with a heart of obedience to God, and should not insist on our own will and ideas or blindly ask God to do things in a so-and-so way. So, the Lord required us, ‘[W]hen the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship Him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.’ (John 4:23-24) From the above verses, we know that we should tell what’s on our mind in our prayer and worship God with a true heart, and should not do it as a rigid regulation every day. Prayers like traditional Benedicite before meals every day the Lord won’t hear, for such a practice isn’t after the Lord’s heart.”
The fellowship of Sister Yu left me into a deep meditation: Yes. I have observed all kinds of prayers for over twenty years, but I have never considered carefully whether such prayers are after God’s heart or whether the Lord truly accepts or hears our prayers. Hearing the sister’s fellowship, I realized that I should seek carefully. Thinking of this, I said to Sister Yu, “Sister, though I’ve never heard such a fellowship, I think it is really in line with the truth. I agree with what you said just now: Such a prayer is keeping a regulation, without sense. Although I pray every day outwardly, I feel in my innermost heart that it is a pressure and burden. I don’t know the reason why I do this. But if I don’t do so, it seems to me that I’m not a believer of God, and I’m afraid that the Lord will blame me for that. In addition, I have nothing to say to the Lord except asking for grace. Can you tell meto the Lord so that He will be pleased?” Sister Yu nodded and said, “Brother, we all know that the prayer is a way for us to associate with God, a way for man to call to God, and a course of being moved by God’s Spirit as well. Without sincere prayers, one will break off the relationship with God and can’t gain the approval of God. Then, how shall we pray to God to His will? Almighty God says, ‘When praying, one can quiet one’s heart before God, and through prayer, one can seek the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment, know God’s words, and understand God’s will. … it is not about speaking a few nice-sounding words or breaking down in tears before God to show how indebted you are; rather, its purpose is to train oneself in the use of the spirit, allowing one to quiet one’s heart before God, to train oneself to seek out guidance from God’s words in all matters, so that one’s heart can be drawn to a fresh new light each day, and so that one will not be passive or lazy and may set foot upon the right track of putting God’s words into practice. Most people nowadays focus on methods of practice, yet they do not do so in order to pursue the truth and achieve life growth. This is where they have gone astray’ (The Word Appears in the Flesh) In other words, when we pray, we should not go through the formality or go through the motions, or just say some pleasant words to thank and praise God, or have a good cry before God to show our indebtedness, but should exercise to quiet our hearts before God and associate with God to receive God’s moving and exercise to seek guidance in everything. When we quiet our hearts before God and seek the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment and illumination through prayers, we’ll know and understand God’s will.” After hearing this, I asked Sister Yu surprisingly, “How do you know so much? This is the first time I’ve heard such a high message. What you said is the enlightenment and light of the Holy Spirit. Why don’t I have such seeing or understanding? No wonder that no matter how I pray now, I can’t feel the presence of the Lord and my spirit hasn’t been moved for a long time. For that reason, I even doubt whether my heart is numb. Today, I feel energized again after your fellowship.” Sister Yu said happily, “Thank God! It’s the grace of God. If God hadn’t opened up mysteries, no one would have known that by the mind of man.”
Later, they came to my home for another several times to fellowship with me, and I gained a lot every time. When they left, I said to my wife, “Frankly speaking, Sister Yu’s preaching is very high, fresh, and lively. I feel this way originates from the Holy Spirit. But I still have some misgivings within.” My wife asked me, “Is her preaching in line with the Lord’s word? Does it stray from the Lord’s way?” Thank the Lord! My wife’s words awakened me, and I believed that it was the Lord who told me through my wife that since it is a good way and also originates from the Holy Spirit, I should listen to their sermons more. Now there is not any light in our preaching. Every meeting is stagnant, and we can’t feel the presence of the Lord. The Lord Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). It was not easy for me to hear such good messages, so I decided not to give it up but continue listening to their sermons, and moreover I intended to ask the brothers and sisters of our church to come and listen to it so that they would also receive the spiritual supply. When the sisters came again, I said to them, “From these fellowships, I understand a lot. I want you to preach to him so that he can also listen to your sermons. In this way, brothers and sisters could all listen to the good way. Would you like to go?” Hearing that, Sister Yu said, “Thank the Lord! It is the Lord who moves our hearts, opens our spiritual eyes, and lets us understand His will. It is God’s will that brothers and sisters can share His word together and receive His unending supply.” So, we made an appointment to go to the leader’s home for preaching the next evening.
The next evening, Sister Yu and Sister Zhao came to my home on time. I walked ahead of them and led them to the leader’s home, holding the flashlight in my hand. On the way, I gave an introduction to them, “Sister, thank the Lord. There are nearly eighty people in the church of our village. Our leader is a brother by the name of Han. He is an honest person, pursues quite hard and has responsibility for church.” When we arrived at the leader’s home, several co-workers were just having a meeting there. Leader Han gave us an alert look when he saw I took two strangers to his home. I hurriedly introduced, “Brother, this is Sister Yu, a preacher who comes from the city. She preaches very well, so I specially invite them to come here, and we can listen together. And this is Sister Zhao, my distant relative.” After he heard that, the leader’s attitude softened, and he said, “Oh, come in and have a seat please. We’re having a meeting this evening, and you can attend it together.” Then brothers and sisters raised some questions about daily life, and Sister Yu used the words in her notebook to have all these questions resolved.
Sister Yu fellowshiped, “Actually, the meaning of believing in God is very deep, and it’s not as simple as we have imagined. We should practice the truth when we have meetings, pray, sing hymns, or perform the duty, and should not go through the formality externally. If we want to be transformed in our disposition, we should not only act according to God’s word when we worship God, but also practice the truth in everything in our daily life, whether it’s big or small. Believing in God is to resolve our satanic nature within, and live out the likeness of a real man. If our satanic dispositions are not transformed, we will do things that disobey and resist God at any time. …” Unconsciously, it was about 11 o’clock at night. Knowing that we might be tired from the daytime farm work and needed to rest earlier, Sister Yu said to us, “It’s late now, so we stop here today. We can fellowship next time.” The brothers and sisters all listened with great relish, without any thoughts of sleep. Leader Han said, “Sister Yu, you are welcome to come and fellowship with us next time. Although your fellowship is a little deep, we all like it.”
Later, Sister Yu often came to our church to have meetings, so brothers and sisters treated her as a member of our church.
One time, after Sister Yu read a passage of the words in her notebook to resolve the issue of a sister in the church, Leader Han asked with a surprising expression, “Sister Yu, I wonder all along where the words in your notebook come from. These words don’t deviate frombut are higher and brighter than those in the Bible.” Sister Yu said excitedly, “Brothers and sisters, frankly speaking, the Lord Jesus we have expected for a long time has returned. He has descended in secret among man and has become flesh again to do the work of judging, purifying, and saving man by expressing words. The words of God extracted in my notebook are the words expressed by Almighty God, of . When God comes into the world of man this time, He ends the Age of Grace and brings the Age of Kingdom. He expresses millions of words of truth, reveals all mysteries we didn’t understand before, discloses the nature and substance of corrupt mankind, and shows us the way to get rid of satanic disposition. At the same time, He makes God’s disposition and what God has and is known to mankind. Let’s read another passage of Almighty God’s word.”
Then Sister Yu took out a book titled “The Scroll Opened by the Lamb” from her bag and read, “After the work of Jehovah, Jesus became flesh to do His work amongst man. His work was not carried out in isolation, but was built upon the work of Jehovah. It was work for a new age that God did after He had concluded the Age of Law. Similarly, after the work of Jesus ended, God went on with His work for the next age, because the entire management of God is always progressing forward. When the old age passes, it will be replaced by a new age, and once the old work has been completed, there will be new work to continue God’s management. … When Jesus came into the world of man, He ushered in the Age of Grace and ended the Age of Law. During the last days, God once more became flesh, and with this incarnation He ended the Age of Grace and ushered in the Age of Kingdom. All those who are able to accept the second incarnation of God will be led into the Age of Kingdom, and will moreover become able to personally accept the guidance of God. Though Jesus did much work among man, He only completed the redemption of all mankind and became man’s sin offering; He did not rid man of all his corrupt disposition. Fully saving man from the influence of Satan not only required Jesus to become the sin offering and bear the sins of man, but it also required God to do even greater work to rid man completely of his satanically corrupted disposition. And so, now that man has been forgiven of his sins, God has returned to the flesh to lead man into the new age, and begun the work of chastisement and judgment. This work has brought man into a higher realm. All those who submit under His dominion shall enjoy higher truth and receive greater blessings. They shall truly live in the light, and they shall gain the truth, the way, and the life’ (The Word Appears in the Flesh). From Almighty God’s words, we see the management of God is always progressing forward. The work done by Jesus was only to redeem man from sins, but not to take away the sinful nature from man. So, although we receive the sin offering of God, we still can’t break free from the situation of committing and confessing sins. When God returns to flesh among man this time, He continues His work in the Age of Grace, judges and purifies man by expressing words, and thereby thoroughly saves man from Satan’s domain and brings man into the next age. Brothers and sisters, these words of God I read during this period of time are the words expressed by Almighty God. Do you think these words are very practical? Aren’t they the words of life which are essential for our daily life? God’s word can be our life, show us the way to practice the truth, and solve all difficulties we meet in our everyday life.”
Hearing that, I stood up excitingly and said, “Sister Yu, after hearing your recent fellowships, I understand that this way is the true way that tells man how to, and how to break away from the affliction of Satan and change the corrupt disposition of man so that man can be completely purified and saved in the end. I acknowledge that all these words are the utterance of God. Almighty God is the return of the Lord Jesus.” With a serious expression on his face, Leader Han said, “These words come from the Holy Spirit. But I won’t accept it rashly. I want to investigate it for some time.” Sister Yu said happily, “The Lord Jesus taught us: ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven’ (Matthew 5:3). ‘Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled’ (Matthew 5:6). As long as we investigate this way with a seeking heart, I believe that God will enlighten us.” Afterward, Sister Yu fellowshipped about other pieces of God’s word with us: “Knowing the Three Stages of God’s Work Is the Path to Knowing God,” “Only Christ of the Last Days Can Give Man the Way of ,” and so on. Through a period of fellowship and investigation, most brothers and sisters of our church accepted God’s work of the last days. We get out of the plight that there was no way to go forward, and truly feel that Almighty God—Christ of the last days has brought us the perpetual way of the truth.
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Now, disasters are occurring frequently everywhere. In the Philippines, the pandemic and the famine have not passed yet and powerful Typhoon Molave, Goni and Tropical Storm Atsani have landed. Biblical prophecies of the coming of the Lord have been fulfilled. It stands to reason that the Lord has returned—so why have we yet to welcome His arrival? Will we not be plunged into the great tribulation if this carries on? And just what should we do to welcome the Lord’s coming?