A child-like faith will assure
special favors from God. God's will is
to reveal to those whose faith are as babies (Mt 1 1:25, 26), and only from the
mouth of a child could praise be perfected to God (Mt 21:16).
The Child-like Belief and Obedience
If a man comes to God, can fully
believe His words as a child, is willing to obey and to perform His words in
his daily living, he will surely be loved and blessed by God. Unfortunately, after a person believes in the
Lord for a long time, his faith gradually weakens even becomes paralyzed,
losing all its vitality. He shows no
desire to pursue the words of God nor the determination or strength to follow
His teachings. Though he believes God is
almighty, he is not willing to trust Him with all his heart.
Abraham was called by God out of Ur at the age of
seventy-five. He obeyed God with a child-like
faith and journeyed to the unknown land
of Canaan (Heb
11:8-10). After twenty-four years he
still possessed the kind of faith to wait upon God's promised son (Rom
4:19-21). Later, he submitted himself as
a child to follow God's command to offer Isaac upon Mt. Moriah (Gen
22:1-3). After sixty-five years, Abraham
became an old man of 140 years of age.
He still relied upon God with a child-like faith to seek a wife for his
son (Gen 24:1-7). How precious is his
unchangeable and immortal faith. No wonder God blessed him in all things (Gen
Though the centurion of Capernaum was an officer
of the Roman army with a high position and authority, he possessed a child-like
faith, believing that time and space could not limit the power of every word of
the Lord. If the Lord Jesus was willing
to send out the command, the dying servant in his house would be immediately
healed. Consequently, the Lord
accomplished for him according to his faith (Mt 8:8-13).
If the faith of a man could be
likened to a grain of mustard seed, simple yet containing a vigorous life, and
relies fully upon God's love and power, all he asks in accordance with God's
will he surely will receive (Mt 1 7:20).
The Lord Jesus said, "And whatever you ask in prayer, you will
receive, if you have faith" (Mt 21:22).
The Child-like Humbleness
The Lord Jesus taught the disciples,
"Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the
kingdom of heaven." (Mt 18:4)
After a person believes in the
Lord for a long time, receives some Bible knowledge, has some experience in
faith, and has also performed some holy work, it is very easy for him to become
self satisfied, lose the child-like hunger for spiritual milk and is no longer
willing to be taught. Attending the services becomes a formality to him and he
listens to the words of God with an attitude of "tasting" the
spiritual food. He neither hungers nor
thirsts for God, and his determination of pursuing the spiritual growth become
totally diminished. The word of God no
longer touches him again nor can it produce any power to transform his
life. He only knows to criticize others
and would not examine himself.
Consequently, the child-like tears of bitter repentance before God are
never seen again. He could not humble
himself to receive others' advice and correction. Contrarily, he argues and becomes angry. He loves to glorify his own achievements and
merits, but forgets to give glory to God who bestows upon him all things. He always is jealous of the strength of
others, would not humble himself to learn from them. Such a person, filled with self-righteousness
and pride, has already unconsciously separated himself from the grace of
God. For "God opposes the proud,
but gives grace to the humble." (Jas 4:6) How pitiful it would be if our
faith had fallen into such a state.
The eunuch of Ethiopia, though he was rich,
knowledgeable and possessed high status, still retained his child-like
humbleness. He traveled a great distance
to Jerusalem to
worship God. After he paid a considerable
price to purchase the scroll of Isaiah, he read the words of God with eagerness
in the chariot on the return journey. He
asked the poor and little educated evangelist, Philip, in all humbleness to
explain the teaching in the Words. His
humility and pursuing heart moved God whereby he obtained God's salvation (Act
When Peter denied the Lord the
third time, the cock crowed. The Lord
turned and looked upon him sorrowfully.
Immediately, he was reminded of
the words of the Lord, and then he went out and wept bitterly. Because of his child-like tears, he was
forgiven by the Lord. Later, he was
filled with the Holy Spirit and received great power in preaching and performing
miracles. He went everywhere to preach
the Gospel, his fame spread afar. When
instructed by God, he came to the house of Cornelius. Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet
and worshipped him, Peter humbly lifted him up, saying, "Stand up; I too
am a man." (Act 10:25,26) Peter never forgot he was but an ordinary man
and was only a vessel used by God. In Antioch, he was rebuked
openly by a younger fellow-worker, Paul, but he accepted this humbly and
quietly (Gal 2:11-14). He still
respected the gifts that Paul received from the Lord and called him a beloved
brother (11 Pet 3:15). This kind of
child-like humbleness' is the main factor which enabled Peter to be the
precious vessel of God and a pillar of the Church.
The Child-like Zeal
The Lord said, "So, because you are
lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you
out of my mouth . . . so be zealous and repent." (Rev 3:16,19)
Those who first taste the grace of
the Lord and are filled with the Holy Spirit, possess
a genuine and zealous heart toward the Lord.
Their faith is positive; attending service, daily Bible reading and
prayer, participating in the Holy work.
They show sincere hospitality toward others and constantly lead people
to the Lord. The fervor they create
permeates the entire church. Sadly,
because of the entanglement of temptations and business of the world, their
first zeal gradually fades away. Their
affection to God and man no longer can be discerned, their faith becomes
indifferent and apathetic. Attending the
service, reading the Bible, prayer, working for the Lord or preaching the
Gospel, is a heavy burden. This kind of
lukewarm faith is most disheartening to the Lord. Eventually, they will be deserted by the
Nehemiah was exalted by God to be
the wine bearer of the Persian king. in an extremely
busy and comfortable life, his zeal to God never decreased. When he heard the heartbreaking news of the
destruction of Jerusalem and the city wall, his
zeal burned within him even stronger than the fire that burned the HolyCity. He wept and offered fasting prayer for Jerusalem, too grieved to
sleep. He determined to resign from his
prestigious position and return to his nation to rebuild the city wall (Neh 1:3, 4; 2:12-15,1 7). Though the Persian king commissioned him to
be the governor of the land
of Judah, in order to
reduce the burden of his people, he was willing to sacrifice himself without
taking any salary for twelve years.
Further, he generously provided food for 150 Jews and rulers (Neh 5:14-19). His
leadership which demonstrated great zeal moved God and many Jews to work with
him. Finally, the great task of
rebuilding the city wall was accomplished.
Meanwhile, the faith of the Israelites was also revived.
God manifested His great zeal to
save us (Is 9:6,7; 37:31,32). After receiving His great love, God expects
us to be zealous toward Him. Knowledge
and affection are the necessary ingredients of faith. if
a person has only the knowledge of the truth, but without affection toward God
and man, his faith is lifeless and empty and can never please God. How much more, God desires us to pursue after
Him out of our sincere zeal (S of S 2:7).
"But I have this against you,
that you have abandoned the love you had at first. " (Rev 2:4)
Child-like love is issued from a
clear conscience (I Tim 1:5). This
conscience is highly sensitive to the love of the Lord (Gal 2:20). It responds to the sorrow and tribulations of
men with a strong sense of sympathy and compassion (Mt 9:35-38). Child-like love is apparent at the time when
one is first called by the Lord and is filled by the Holy Spirit. With a distinct desire to love God and man,
he is able to be totally unselfish. But,
when a person lives comfortably in peace and satisfaction, his love diminishes to
the confines of his own family if he fails to be watchful. Just like the prophecies
of the end time: most men's love will grow cold." (Mt 24:12) "For men
will be lovers of self, lovers of money . . . lovers of pleasure rather than
lovers of God." (11 Tim 3:1-4) This is the greatest peril of Christians
living in the last days.
Although Paul was a distinguished
apostle, carrying with him the power of God and established churches wherever
he went, he was never boastful nor did he ever lose his determination to repay
the love of God. (I Tim 1: 1 2-15) He retained the child-like love. For the sake of saving the souls of men, he
deeply grieved and had unceasing anguish in his heart even willing to be
accursed and cut off from Christ. (Rom 9:1-3) He dedicated himself totally and
expended every effort to lead people to God. (11 Cor
1:28-29) Paul was able to accomplish successfully the mission entrusted by God
precisely because of his avid compassion for human souls.
David, similarly, was a king who
had won numerous battles. He never lost
his child-like love. He danced like a child
in joy when the ark was returned from captivity (I Chron
15:29). He was uneasy and grievous when
he was dwelling in the house of cedar, knowing that the house of God had not
been built (11 Sam 7:1-3). He loved God
and was resolved to build His house.
But, this did not meet with the approval of God. David, however, would not give up his
opportunities to repay the love of God.
He provided gold, silver, bronze, iron, precious stones, and lumber for
the construction of the Temple. He offered generously to God. It was his love for God that touched the
hearts of the chiefs and leaders of the tribes who joined him willingly in
offering. This enabled Solomon to erect
the Temple of God immediately after his
enthronement. David took great delight
in the Temple of God.
His fervent love for Jerusalem
was the major reason that God blessed his house with prosperity (Ps 122:1-6).
Our love for God should increase
with the passage of time. The longer we
have believed in the Lord, the deeper is our comprehension of the love of
God. The more we have tasted the love of
God, the deeper should be our love toward Him.
Child-like love is the most touching and edifying (I
Cor 8:1). God
will certainly reward us for all the good deeds we have done out of genuine
love. Only by so doing, we will be able
to face God with confidence on the day of judgment (I in 4:17,18).
May the Lord preserve our hearts, enable us to
maintain the childlike purity and innocence, and hold fast the genuine
child-like faith to the end in order to have a share in the Kingdom of God (Heb
The Truth of the Holy Communion
Biblical references: Mt 26:26-29;
Mk 14:22-25; Lk 22:14-20 jn
6:53-56; 1 Cor 10: 16, 17; 1 1:23-32.
The Holy Communion is one of the
most important Sacraments in the Bible. it possesses
spiritual mystery and efficacy. The Lord
Himself instituted this Sacrament (Mt 26:26-28) and commanded His disciples to
do likewise (Lk 22:19). It has a direct relationship with eternal
life (in 6:53,54).
Therefore, a Christian's belief and practice of the Holy Communion
should be in perfect accordance with the Bible.
Only by doing so, can he obtain the spiritual blessings that are
promised with this Sacrament.
Unfortunately, the belief towards
Holy Communion and its practice has deviated from the teachings of the Bible
since the 4th Century till the present time - a period of approximately 1,600
years. The original Holy Communion
recorded in the Bible is simple and clear.
Because many church leaders and theologians did not rely upon the
guidance of the Holy Spirit and in turn used human philosophy, they changed the
doctrine of the Holy Communion into various complicated theological
concepts. Many controversial debates
arose in Christendom, thereafter. Some
regard Holy Communion as a mere formality and symbolism; it has nothing to do
with salvation. Others think that the
bread and cup are transformed physically into the flesh and blood of Jesus,
after blessing and thanks has been given.
Some denominations even worship the elements used in their Holy
Communion. In practice, some use
leavened bread, biscuits or special wafers for the Holy Communion. As to the cup, some use grape wine, or diluted
wines, while others use ordinary fruit juice or even Coca Cola. Some churches insist that the Holy Communion
be performed once a year and only on Passover.
Others specify that Holy Communion is for adults alone.
The writer would like to make use
of this opportunity to introduce the original Holy Communion which is
completely according to the Bible. May
the Lord guide us and enable us to receive His words with a child-like faith.
THE BELIEF OF HOLY COMMUNION
The Holy Communion possesses
spiritual mystery and efficacy. The Lord
Jesus said: "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the
Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh
and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day
... He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him."
(jn 6:53, 54, 56). Therefore, those who receive the Holy
Communion are promised these three blessings:
Lord's everlasting life in him.
He will be resurrected on the last day.
The Lord will be in communion with him in
spirit. He abides in the Lord, and the
Lord in him.
All the above are spiritual
blessings. We desire the spiritual life
of the Lord and not his physical life.
The Lord's spiritual life is eternal, while his physical life was only
thirty-three years. The Lord Jesus took
the bread and cup and blessed it saying, "This is my body ... This is my
blood of the new covenant." He did not say: "This symbolizes
(signifies) my body ... this symbolizes (signifies) my blood of the new
covenant." He also said: "The words that I have spoken to you are spirit
and life." (Jn 6:63). Therefore, after giving thanks, through the
promise of the Lord and the power of the Holy Spirit, the bread spiritually
becomes the body of Jesus. The cup
spiritually becomes the blood of Jesus.
Thus, the Holy Communion has the effect of enabling the partakers to
obtain the spiritual life of Jesus. It
is not a physical change, but has spiritual efficacy.
THE PRACTICE OF HOLY COMMUNION
Since partaking of the Holy
Communion is to receive the flesh and blood of the Lord, we should remember the
suffering and crucifixion of the Lord (I Cori
1:24-26). That is why the Lord took
bread and said: "This is my body which is given for you.", and then
he took the cup saying: "This cup is the new covenant in my blood."
Those who partake of Holy Communion should deeply remember how the Lord
underwent physical torment, scourging, and death on the cross. In order to pay for the wages of our sins,
the spirit of the Lord was left in Hades, and He tasted the bitterness of
eternal death. (Mt 27:45,46; Ps 16:10). When partaking of Holy Communion, we should
make new resolutions to live for the Lord and to devote the rest of our lives
to serve Him.
Not only must the belief of Holy
Communion be in complete accordance with the Bible, its practice must also
follow the example of the Lord. Because
the ingredients and method used by the Lord in the Holy Communion possessed
spiritual implications, it must not be altered randomly.
According to the Bible, only one
bread should be used (I Cor 10:17), because Jesus
took one bread and said, "This is my body". Jesus has only one body,
and this body signified His true church (Eph 4:4). Through many partake of Holy Communion; they
are all members of that one body of Christ.
It also reminds us the partakers should pursue after peace, unity and to
be of one body (Eph 3:6; 4:2-4; Col
3:15). The bread used must be
unleavened. Leaven spiritually signifies
erroneous teachings (Mt 16:6, 12), malice and evil (I Cor
5:6-8). The Lord Jesus is absolutely
faultless and holy. The unleavened bread
also teaches the partakers to remove the old leaven and lead a holy life and
abide in the Truth (I Pet 1:14-16). The
bread, after giving thanks, should be broken up by hand, for this is His body
which is broken for the sins of many (Lk 22:19).
The cup of the Holy Communion is
the fruit of the vine (Mt 26:29), not wine.
For wine is fermented, and fermentation is likened to leaven which
spiritually signifies erroneous teachings and sins. Therefore wine must not be used in Holy
There is no specific time
mentioned in the Bible as to when Holy Communion should be held. The Bible says, "For as often as you eat
this bread and drink the cup" (I Cor 11:26),
indicates that the church in the apostolic time held Holy Communion frequently. Therefore, we can hold Holy Communion as
often as needed -once a month, every two months or several times a year.
Since receiving the Holy Communion
is to receive the flesh and blood of the Lord in the spirit, we should not
regard the bread and grape juice as ordinary food and drink. In order to avoid being judged by the Lord,
we should partake of Holy Communion with reverence; after examining ourselves,
confessing and repenting our sins (I Cor
11:27-32). Those who have not received
baptism in accordance with the Bible, should not partake (Ex 12:43,48; Col
2:11,12). Those who have committed
mortal sins (I jn 5:16,17),
such as: idolatry, sexual immorality, murder, robbery, drunkenness and etc. (I Cor 5:11-13; Gal 5:19-21), are not worthy to receive the
flesh and blood of Christ.
May the Holy Spirit enlighten us,
so that we can understand the truth of the Holy Communion (Eph 1: 17, 18). May the Lord guide those who love Him and
obey His words into His true church (Jn10:16), to share the promised blessings
of this genuine Holy Communion.
JESUS SAVED ME
I was born into a family which is
basically Buddhist and Taoist in its religious orientation. Since my early childhood, I followed my
parents and worshipped a host of idols.
This is not an unfamiliar phenomenon seen in many Chinese families. I could have been spared many trials and much
Before I was baptized into Christ,
I remained a dedicated and devout Buddhist.
I observed almost irrationally Buddhist teachings and doctrines. My husband advised me repeatedly that what
Buddhism teaches is often beyond reason, such as the extreme vegetarian dietary
practices and one-meal-a-day practice.
The life of isolation akin to that of a hermit which is advocated by
Buddhism particulary, according to my husband, is
both selfish, unproductive and does not benefit society at all. Nevertheless, I pursued fervently Buddahood and nirvana, insisting on my own belief. I became so deeply entrenched in Buddhist teachings;
I was rendered incapable of breaking away from self-imposed confinements. The result was that, not only did I never
attain Buddhahood, I was possessed by demonic spirits. I could hear strange voices from the
demons. They twisted my nose and moved my
facial muscles. I suffered from insomnia
for quite some time. Valium and other
similar prescriptions all proved futile.
The extent of disturbance in my family caused by me was beyond
description. It was not until I realized
that if Buddha was the true God, I should not have been suffering from all
In order to receive help to
alleviate the pain I suffered, I visited innumerable well-known
"Priests" and squandered away much of my family's resources. At the point of utter despair, I recalled my previous
experience of attending a family Bible study service at the True Jesus
Church. I was reminded of the great
power of the Holy Spirit. I picked up
the phone and contacted Brother and Sister Chen and requested them to bring me
to the church. The church in Garden Grove was busy
preparing for the Evangelical Services for the summer of 1985. 1 chose to stay
with all the other participants at the church so that I could pray and listen
to all the sermons. I remember that, on
the first night, I was very worried at bedtime.
The participants were required to go to bed at 10 o'clock. But I was never able to fall asleep until at
least two or three o'clock in the morning.
Thank God, the Pastors and the church members prayed for me with
supplication. I was surprised that I
slept soundly throughout that night. My
chronic problem of insomnia was healed by the Lord that very night.
Furthermore, I learned much of the
truth pertaining to salvation and was profoundly touched by the love of
Christ. The Pastors and the loving
church members prayed for me unselfishly and unconditionally in the hope that
the demons in me could be cast out and that the Lord would shower me with His
wonderful blessings. This was in clear
contradiction with my previous experiences where I had to,
first of all, pay a considerable amount of money before a Buddhist priest could
be approached. I was frequently moved to
tears by the genuine love shown to me by the brothers and sisters of the
church. They cared about me and shared
with me their warm affection. I was
convinced that the love of God and His warmth prevailed profusely in the True
Jesus Church. I was baptized into Christ
on the last day of the Spiritual Convocation.
I am overjoyed that I have finally found the Lord, our Savior, and His
I must hasten to add that I also
suffered for quite some time constant pain in the lower abdomen. It was so severe I could hardly stand it for
long. Gynecologists in Taiwan and the United States agreed that it was
the side-effects from my earlier surgery, hence incurable. But my abdominal pain was taken away and
healed by the Lord.
After I was baptized, I was
occasionally troubled by the demonic spirits.
When the Pastor and church members came to visit me at home, they
discovered I had kept voluminous Buddhist literature and idols. These were all destroyed in the name of the
Lord following a prayer. I have not been
disturbed by those demonic spirits since.
I regained my health and was made
whole by the love and great power of the Lord.
How true is the statement of the Lord, "With men this is
impossible, but with God all things are possible." (Mt 19:26) Having
witnessed the wonderful power and blessings of the Lord, my husband continued
to join Bible study sessions and church services until he was also baptized
into our Lord Jesus Christ in June 1986.
May all the glory be unto our Lord, the Savior. I pray that He will have mercy on my children
and guide them to receive t e most precious gift of His salvation.
Many churches today have
magnificent buildings, sophisticated organization, specialists from diverse
professions, and complicated theological concepts. But they lack a vigorous life, spiritual
power and the abidance of God.
Consequently, the church merely becomes an organization of men, teaching
knowledge of their beliefs and conducting routine programs and activities. It has very little effect upon the
transformation and growth of their spiritual lives. This makes it even more difficult for them to
preach the gospel powerfully and save the souls of the world. The services in the church have become only a
formality and the church appears to be extremely weak and passive. Sermons that shake the hearts of men cannot
be heard and awesome miracles or power of the Holy Spirit cannot be
experienced. Even the worshipers begin
to criticize each other and divide into cliques, causing the church situation
to deteriorate. The root of all these
tragic events is a shortage of prayers.
It is a natural result when there are no praying leaders and believers.
At the time of the apostles, the
churches did not have their own buildings and gathered mostly in the believers'
homes (Act 12:12; Rom 16:3-5). Their
organization was very simple and the leaders did not possess profound knowledge
or philosophy (Act 4:13). They were
merely a group of men with little education.
But the church at that time exhibited fully the power of God and bore
countless testimonies of transformed lives.
They spread the gospel effectively everywhere, and the Lord worked great
miracles and wonders through them. The
apostles, filled with the Holy Spirit, shook many cities and villages (Act
5:12-16; 8:4-12). Those who were saved
were added daily, the church was filled with the love of God and spiritual joy,
as if the Kingdom
of Heaven was on
earth. The reason for all these
happenings is because the church in the apostolic times was a praying
church. There were many workers and
believers who lived praying lives.
Through daily prayer with intense supplication and deep communion with
God, they obtained spiritual virtue and power.
Their influence caused the church to revive and expand.
Prayer - The Most Important Work of the Church
"But we will devote ourselves to prayer,
and to the ministry of the word" (Act 6:4).
The early church was established
by prayer. Before the Holy Spirit
descended upon the disciples on the day of Pentecost, the church record was but
a piece of blank paper which had no written account of victory. At that time, the disciples were timid and
feared death. jealousy, arrogance, weakness and
deficiency in faith were often seen.
They were like a divided and powerless army and could not withstand any
attack from Satan. Fortunately, they
obeyed the instructions of the Lord: prayed with fervency and waited upon the
power from above. After about ten days
of devoted prayer, the Holy Spirit descended mightily, every disciple was
filled with the Spirit of God, they were changed into Christian soldiers and
the church immediately prospered and greatly developed. When they experienced this power, they
realized the importance of prayer and wherever they went they built a praying
church. They sent workers by prayer (Act
performed healing, cast out demons (Act 4:29-31) and defeated tribulations and
persecutions with the weapon of prayer (Act 12:5). In those days, the church relied upon prayer
to conquer all difficulties. Because
they respected God and relied upon Him with all their hearts, they lived in His
care and grace daily. Those who joined
received God's bountiful blessings.
Their example is exactly what we need in today's church.
Prayer and preaching are the most essential works of the church, but prayer is
even more important than preaching.
Without sufficient time to offer earnest prayer, it will be impossible
to preach the gospel effectively. The
heart of man will not be prepared to obtain God's salvation and it will be more
difficult for him to receive the Holy Spirit or the grace of God. Therefore, the church should not only spread
the gospel actively, but devote more effort to the work of prayer.
THE PRAYING WORKER
"Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel
prevailed; and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek
prevailed. 11 (Ex 17. 1 1)
All the precious workers of God in
the Bible were praying individuals. They
left prominent examples of praying lives.
They devoted tremendous amounts of time to prayer; they afflicted their
flesh and offered prolonged fasting prayers, in order to seek after God's power
and His abidance. The entire Bible is
filled with such glorious records of prayers.
All their accomplishments of God's great task are the result of prayer, if
the worker of God does not labor hard in prayer, God will not abide with him,
and henceforth he can do nothing.
Abraham built altars and lived a
praying life (Gen 12:7-8), so he became the friend of God (jas
2:23). By the hand of persistent prayer,
he delivered Lot out of the city of Sodom
as a log being drawn from fire (Gen 18:22-33; 19:29). Jacob wept and prayed all night at the Ford
of jabbok (Hos 12:3-5) and
wrestled with an angel. His prayer not
only moved God to change Esau's heart from enmity to compassion, but also
altered his own fate. Henceforth, he was
made a prince of God, Israel (Gen 32:22-29; 33:4).
Moses was a praying man of
God. It took 40 years of discipline for
him to learn prayer. When he prayed with
great faith, the Red Sea opened and the nation of Israel was saved (Ex
14:13-31). He walked alone to the top of
Mt. Sinai where he fasted and prayed 40
days and nights with no food or water.
His contrite pleading turned aside God's anger and the sins of Aaron and
the Israelites were pardoned (Deut 9:18-20; Ps 106:23). He went up the mountain at Rephidim, raising his hand to pray until the sunset. This assured a great victory in the battle
(Ex 1 7:8-1 3). If Moses had not prayed
constantly in such a manner, he would not have been able to deliver the people
of Israel out of Egypt, through
the desert and into Caanan.
Joshua learned to be a praying
general from Moses. At an extremely
crucial moment of the battle, he called upon the Lord. Unprecedented, the sun and moon stood still
for about one day, so that the Israelites could destroy their mighty enemy
Elijah was a praying prophet. At the time of total bankruptcy of the faith
of the Israelites, the entire nation was at the brink of death, he alone boldly
challenged 850 false prophets at the foot of Mt. Carmel. In faith he sent out a strong signal to God
and fire descended from heaven and burned all the sacrifices on the altar. This turned the hearts of the whole nation to
God. Then he climbed to the top of
Mt. Carmel and prayed with supplication seven
times. There came showers of rain that
ended three and a half years of drought and saved the whole nation. (I Kgs 18:36-46).
Nehemiah was a praying
leader. He wept and fasted for the holy
city of Jerusalem. His prayer moved God to touch the heart of
the Persian king to allow him to return to rebuild the holy city (Neh 1:4; 2:4-9). He
relied upon prayer to overcome all the hindrances and hardships. Finally, he accomplished the task of
rebuilding the city's wall (Neh 5:19; 6:14).
Esther was a praying queen. She fasted and prayed three days and nights
with all the Jews in the city of Shushan in order to
rescue the lives of her nation (Est 4:15-1 7).
Daniel was a praying president of
the kingdom of Persia.
An excellent spirit was formed through his consistent praying life of
three times a day. Through his earnest
prayers, God revealed to him the mystery of His great plan for the world. He became a powerful living witness forgod in twogreat empires (Dan
6:10,1 1; 10:10-12).
The Lord Jesus was a teacher of
prayer (Lk II:]). He devoted Himself totally to the work of
prayer every day, in order to accomplish the great task of salvation. He left countless footprints of prayer in the
wilderness (Mk 1:35; Lk 5:16), upon the mountain (Mt
14:22-25; Lk 6:12-13), in the garden of Gethsemane
(Lk 22:39-44; Heb 5:7) and even when he was dying on
the cross (Lk 23:34,46). Through His timeless prayers, he obtained
tremendous power to overcome all temptations from Satan and performed mighty
miracles. Prayer also afforded Him the
strength to undertake all the sufferings, even laying down His life on the
cross for the sake of all mankind. In
the process of training the disciples, the Lord Jesus taught them the most
important lesson - prayer. He revealed
the secret of prayer to His disciples: pray with a pure heart (Mt 5:8); pray in
secret by closing the door of the heart (Mt 6:6); ask, seek and knock in prayer
(Mt 7:7); and pray with importunity (Lk 11:8). He specially took Peter, James and John to
pray and let them experience how great is the power of prayer. It can raise the dead to life (Lk 8:49-56), create a clean heart and a Christlike
character (Lk 9:28-36), put to death all the lust of
the flesh, and make a person surrender totally to God's will (Mt
26:36-44). After the apostles received
the Holy Spirit - the prime mover of prayer, they recalled all the teachings of
the Lord. They began to devote
themselves to a praying life and became praying workers.
Peter prayed daily at set times
(Act 3:]; 10:9), and he often prayed together with his praying partner,
John. Hence, God worked with them,
performing many miracles, and gave the Holy Spirit to those
they laid their hands (Act 3:2-7; 8:14-17).
Paul considered prayer as the first priority in his life, When he came to Jerusalem,
he did not have fellowship with the apostles.
His greatest desire was to go to the temple to commune with the Lord
(Act 22:17). Through profound prayer he
learned the mystery of God and received His instructions. God gave him the power of the Holy Spirit and
various spiritual gifts, making him the most valuable vessel in the New
How much more does today's church
require such praying workers! Through
their prayers, the truth and grace of God may abundantly be brought to those
who believed, The church will be powerless and
fruitless if there are no praying workers.
This loss is impossible to regain.
THE PRAYING BELIEVER
"Therefore confess your sins to one
another, and pray for one another, that you may he healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power
in its effects. " (Jas 5:16)
The believers in the apostolic
time were mostly praying believers. They
witnessed the praying life of their leaders and their hearts were shaken by the
effective power of prayer. They spent
ample time to pray when they assembled.
In daily living, they learned to rely upon the Lord in all things by
prayer. Every day they communed with God
at fixed times. Therefore, in those
days, spiritually strong Christians could be seen everywhere. They had strength to keep the commandments of
God, overcome the world and live a holy life.
Every one of them became Christian soldiers and God worked with them,
spreading the gospel far and wide, saving many souls (Act 11: 1 9-21).
If the believers today would
emphasize prayer, set aside more time to devote them to prayer, certainly they
would be able to live a victorious life.
Their hearts will be filled with spiritual joy and satisfaction, and
will accomplish wonderful works for the
Lord. Scripture says "Elijah
was a man subject to like passions as we are (Jas 5:17) This
distinctly tells us that every person can be as spiritually powerful as Elijah
if only he would live a praying life.
Through one's prayers of supplication, God will definitely shower His
blessing upon him. This kind of praying
man is an indispensable treasure in his family and church.
May the Spirit of the Lord
enlighten our hearts so we may understand that prayer is the most important
work in life. We plead the Lord will awaken and
persuade us to pray every day, and help us to live a powerful praying life.
Testimonies of the Missionary
Trip in West Africa
Under the guidance of God, the
International Assembly sent Deacon Joseph Shek and
Pastor John Lo to perform missionary work in Liberia,
Ghana and Nigeria. The trip took place between March 4 and May
Due to the earnest prayer
intercession of the brothers and sisters who love the Lord and their concern
with world evangelism, God truly worked with them and opened wide the door of
salvation. He poured out abundantly His
Holy Spirit and manifested His visions and miracles. During the entire journey a total of 528
received water baptism, 229 received the Holy Spirit, 431 saw visions and 58
were healed through the power of the Lord.
May all glory, praise and thanks be given unto God in heaven. We also prayed that the Lord would give
double portion of His blessings to those who strived hard to support the
African ministry with their offerings and daily prayers. Seven weeks after the Lord called the wife of
Pastor Lo to rest, he immediately resumed the heavy
responsibility of the missionary work in Africa. As a grieving soldier being sent to the
battlefield, he felt deeply in need of the help and abidance of the Lord and
prayed earnestly. Thanks to the Lord,
Pastor Lo was greatly comforted and strengthened because God was working with
them during the entire trip. He also
deeply experienced the Lord's word.
"And he said unto me, My grace is
sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in
my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." (11 Cor 12:9)
The objectives of this missionary
trip were the evangelism of the newly developed areas, holding evangelical and
spiritual convocations in our churches in various places and conducting
Workers' Seminars to train the local ministerial personnel. The work was completed successfully by the
guidance of the Lord.
- MARCH 4 to 25
In the three weeks of work in Liberia,
the missionaries held seven evangelical and spiritual convocations in different
places and finally there was a Workers' Seminar and a National Church
Conference. A total of 15 delegates
attended this conference. Important
issues of evangelism, pastoring, finance and church
building construction were discussed.
Seven Board Members of the Evangelism-Coordination Council were
elected. During the period of work in Liberia,
there were a total of 229 people baptized, 102 received the Holy Spirit, 216 saw visions and 12 sick people were healed. Presently, our church membership in Liberia
is about 500 people.
Prayers were very fervent and
powerful during many of the convocations.
Many people were filled with the Holy Spirit. They saw wonderful visions of glorious
lights, tongues of fire, angels with white garments, heavenly ladders, white
doves and the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus on the cross. A sister saw a Roman soldier pierce the side
of the crucified Lord with a long spear and immediately blood and water flowed
out. She was greatly shocked and
terrified. She wept bitterly. A brother saw an angel walking the chapel and
recorded the attendance and the attitude of the worshipers. There was an eight years old boy who saw the
Lord Jesus give everyone a Bible but not him.
He began to cry and reached out his hands to Jesus. When the Lord handed a Bible to him, he
discovered the nail print in the hand of the Lord. Finally, some of the sick people were healed
instantly when they were filled with the Holy Spirit.
In Liberia, there are many who hunger
and thirst for the grace and the truth of God.
If the missionary work could be intensified, a greater harvest could be
- MARCH 25 to APRIL 21
During the four weeks of work in Ghana, five
evangelical and spiritual convocations, one Workers' Seminar and several Bible
studies with the leaders of other denominations were held. A total of 185 received baptism, III received
the Holy Spirit, and 124 saw visions and 14 people were healed by the
Lord. Presently our membership in Ghana
In two specific prayers, the Holy
Spirit worked mightily. In each
occasion, 8 received the Holy Spirit, and 10 saw visions. On April 6th, they went to Kipi village to preach to an old man who was afflicted with
severe asthma. By God's wonderful grace,
in that little evangelical service, 3 accepted baptisms, 4 received the Holy
Spirit and 2 saw visions. Meanwhile that
old man's sickness greatly improved through the healing of the Lord. Among many wonderful visions, some saw the HeavenlyKingdom.
One person who was taken up into heaven, saw that the door was open, and
the Lord Jesus was preparing mansions for the chosen ones. Another saw a glorious heavenly city. In five baptisms, 14 witnessed the vision of
the precious blood of Jesus in the water.
While God's work was progressing,
the missionaries were attacked by Satan many times. On arriving in Accra, Deacon Joseph Shek
was suddenly stricken with malaria and became seriously ill. He experienced vomiting and diarrhea, which
occurred more than ten times a day. His
whole body shoo!, with chills, then became hot with
fever; he perspired profusely. After the
earnest prayer of many members, he was healed by the Lord and recovered
completely in two days. On April 24th,
they separated to work in different places.
Pastor Lo took a taxi to a distant city for evangelical work. Unexpectedly the tires of the car went flat
twice while on the highway. Fortunately,
under the Lord's protection, there was no accident or injury.
The society in Ghana is quite
stable and secure. Living expenses are
considerably low. Many people are
educated and pursue after the truth. It
is an excellent base for the missionary work.
May the Lord strengthen our churches in Ghana.
- APRIL 21 to MAY 2
Within 12 days work in Nigeria,
9 evangelical and spiritual convocations were held in various places. Because of the tight schedule and heavy work
load, Deacon Shek and Pastor Lo had to separate to
work in difference places most of the time. in the
last three days, a Workers' Seminar and National Church Conference was held in
our church in Port Harcourt. Forty people attended the conference. Seven new committee members were elected to
the Evangelism-Coordination Council.
Though the journey in Nigeria was the
shortest, God opened the door of grace and worked mightily with them. There was a total of
114 baptized, 86 received the Holy Spirit, 91 visions and 32 were healed by the
Lord. Presently, in Nigeria, we
have a membership of about 2,200, 18 churches and 6 prayer houses.
On the evening of their arrival in
Nigeria, a service was held
immediately at the Port Harcourt
church. Surprisingly, the Holy Spirit
descended like a shower. During the last
prayer, 12 received the Holy Spirit, 2 saw visions. They were greatly encouraged and firmly
believed that the Lord will lead the work ahead.
On April 22nd, Pastor Lo went with
the local minister to a village to perform outdoor evangelism. The worship place was located next to the
road and was a simple booth covered with palm leaves. More than 130 newcomers attended. In order to be undisturbed during prayer, two
small rooms of a private house next to the booths were borrowed. More than 60 people packed into the rooms and
walkways. They prayed earnestly with
loud voices, crying and perspiring to the Lord.
Miraculously, 17 received the Holy Spirit, 7 saw visions during the 40
On April 26th, Deacon Shek went to a church district to hold a spiritual
convocation. During prayer, a sick
sister saw Jesus coming to her and He said, "Your sickness will be
healed." Immediately she experienced the power of the Lord and her
sickness was cured. This testimony
increased the faith of the entire church so that everyone prayed even more
fervently during the next prayer. By the
power of the Lord, I 0 people were healed.
Among those healed during this
journey in Nigeria
were some who possessed high fever, malaria, spinal pain, heart diseases and
women's illnesses. There were many
wonderful visions given. A brother saw
the Lord providing a great feast and every guest attending was wearing a white
garment. A sister saw three visions
during a baptism. in the prayer before the baptism, she saw a circle of red
blood in the baptismal site; during the baptism s he saw many white doves flying
in the sky above the water; after baptism, she saw the door of heaven open and
all those who were baptized wore white garments and entered the heavenly city,
then the door was closed and many white doves appeared again. During a prayer at the Workers' Seminar, the
Lord revealed to a minister while he was filled with the Holy Spirit that,
among three church districts, there were church board members and believers who
did not observe the commandments of God and whose conduct was unworthy of the
Lord. God warned them to repent.
The average member in Nigeria
possesses a simple faith and prays earnestly,
therefore, many miracles and wonders take place. On April 29th, a brother drove Deacon Shek to a spiritual convocation in a church district. Because the road condition was extremely
bumpy, the spare tire of this car was lost.
The next morning that brother discovered that he had a flat tire. He was extremely worried because there was no
place to repair the tire or to buy a new one in that area. At that time he was reminded by the Holy
Spirit, "Why not rely upon the Lord with all your heart?" He then
went into the room and prayed earnestly with faith. After an hour of prayer, he returned to his
car and discovered the Lord's mighty hand had fixed his tire - it was filled
with air. He was so excited; he leaped
up and down giving praise and thanks to God.
After the spiritual convocation, they came back with that car
safely. That flat tire was truly
repaired by the Lord.
On April 28th, Pastor Lo went to the
farthest church district to hold a spiritual convocation. While preaching, he suddenly felt an
excruciating pain in his right hip. The
pain became so intense, he found it difficult to walk or lie down. This was probably due to the long missionary
journey - sitting for long periods in planes and cars. At that time Deacon Shek
was working at another place and could not come to help him. He prayed earnestly with tears and asked the
Lord to help him so that he might finish the important work of baptism, foot
washing and Holy Communion the next day.
Although he experienced extreme hardship in walking into the water to
perform baptism, thanks to the mercy of the Lord, he was completely healed
while he was in the water. He never felt
the pain again.
Our church in Nigeria has a
history of seven years. The faiths of
the members have been generally rooted.
May the Lord continue to help the growth of the Nigeria churches so that they may
become mature and self-supporting.
Since last year, the perfect
gospel has spread from one nation to two other nations. By the wonderful guidance of God ' in a short
span of time, His Kingdom has suddenly expanded. May the Lord continue
to carry on His own work, adding people to his Kingdom (Is 26:15). We hope our brothers and sisters throughout
the world will pray diligently for the African ministry.
Presently, in these three nations
of West Africa, we have 10 localities that
desperately need church buildings.
According to the policy of our International Assembly, we will help them
with only 50% of the cost. Unfortunately
the price of the building material has increased two to three times within the
last two years because of inflation. A
simple church building which can accommodate 150 people costs between $3,000
and $10,000 U.S. dollars depending upon the nation. Besides this need, there are more church
buildings which will require our support.
Therefore, we hope our members throughout the world will continue to
offer their financial support to the African ministry until they are able to be
self-supporting. "He who sows
sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap
bountifully. And God is able to provide
you with every blessing in abundance, so that you may always have enough of
everything and may provide in abundance for every good work." (11 Cor 9:6, 8). We
truly believe that this is one of the best opportunities for the members who
live a wealthier life to obtain God's blessings and store up treasures in
Heaven. The Lord Jesus said, "it is more blessed to give than to receive."(Act
20:35). How great is the value of the
money we can offer to the work of spreading the gospel!
Not only will it help the holy
work progress, but many souls will also be saved.
We pray that the Lord will move
many more workers, who can preach in English or French, to dedicate their lives
to the African ministry, helping with the work of evangelism, pastoring, ministerial training, and religious
education. For the Lord Jesus says,
"Say not ye, there are yet four months, and then come harvest? Behold, I say unto you, lift up your eyes,
and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reaped received wages, and
gathered fruit unto life eternal: that both he that sowed and he that reaped
may rejoice together." (In 4:35,36)