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Make a mystery more concrete to grasp; exciting and potentially (prayer) life transforming!
on 2 September 2016
I agree with the starting point of the book, which states that prayer is a mystery. Talking from experience, prayer is the most difficult part of Christian life to grasp. It is also quite common that churches often struggle with attendance at prayer meeting. I have been told prayer is important but do not quite grasp why. Prayer life is also notoriously difficult to establish .For years I didn't pray on my own and when I finally established regular prayer time, the question was how and what to pray. Christian friends sometimes think it is legalistic to stipulate prayer time in personal life. One friend once said that she was constantly conversing with Christ throughout the day that she did not need to sit down and pray because to her, she prayed constantly.
To search for answer, I have read a few books on prayer, but none like this one by Watchman Nee. Whether you totally agree with him or not, his exposition is always thoughtful, spiritually inspired and based on bible texts. He does not make points out of the thin air but always goes back to the bible. He presents insights that I have never come across before. His view is succinctly expounded in this little booklet. What he says is something very worthwhile to consider and meditate upon. His observations are refreshing and will transform my prayer life.
In this little booklet, resisting Satan by prayer and how one of Satan's tactics to wear the saints out by attacking their prayer time and prayer life take up a relatively large proportion of the book. I think he is right in observing that our perspective of prayer keeps missing Satan. There are three aspects in prayer: the individual, God and Satan as His enemy. Any answered prayer which accomplishes God's work wounds Satan. "Our gain and God's glory is in inverse proportion to Satan's loss." No wonder he will try everything to stop us from praying or from praying effectively. It is therefore worrying for individual Christians who place little emphasis in developing a prayer life, and church which struggles to be prayerful. No wonder churches are struggling, and Christian population is dwindling in our country. Nee offers practical advice how to resist and rebuke Satan by prayer, citing biblical texts that we can use.
Having explained what prayer is, Watchman Nee concludes that prayer is a real ministry and work. If we see what Watchman Nee has seen, we probably will not have enough time to spend on prayer! Effective prayer is an essential part of our communion with God; it is a cause as well as a manifestation. Having read the book, I desire to learn how to pray effectively and how to tap into the authority and power that Christ has given to us. Nee's explanation on "the name of Jesus", on which the power of our prayer hinges, is mind-blowing. It starts from our daily walk with Christ which underpins our prayer.
In passing, Nee mentions man's "free will" and the millennium kingdom in this book. Although these are not the focus of the book, I have my reservations. These concepts he may have detailed in his other writings which I have not read, but I wonder what are the qualifications of man's "free will" against God's sovereignty and I don't believe in a literal millennial kingdom.