Life Practices – Praising

Higher Ground | Day 12


Psalm 22:3 – But You are holy, You who sit enthroned / Upon the praises of Israel.
Psalm 119:164 – Seven times a day I praise You for Your righteous ordinances
Heb. 13:15 – Through Him then let us offer up a sacrifice of praise continually to God, that is, the fruit of lips confessing His name.

Praise is the highest work carried out by God’s children. We can say that the highest expression of a saint’s spiritual life is his praise to God. God’s throne is the highest point in the universe, yet He sits “enthroned upon the praises of Israel” (Psa. 22:3). God’s name and even God Himself are exalted through praise.

David said in a psalm that he prayed to God three times a day (Psa. 55:17). Yet in another psalm, he said that he praised God seven times a day (119:164). David was inspired by the Holy Spirit when he acknowledged the importance of praising. He prayed only three times a day, but he praised seven times a day….We should praise the Lord all our life. We should sing praises to our God. (Praising, pp. 1)

Many times praise works where prayer fails. This is a very basic principle. If you cannot pray, why not praise? The Lord has placed another item in your hands for your victory and for you to boast in victory. Whenever you run out of strength to pray and you find your spirit heavily oppressed, wounded, or sagging, praise Him. If you cannot pray, try to praise. We invariably think that we should pray when the burden is heavy and praise when the burden is over. But please bear in mind that there are times when the burden is so heavy that you cannot pray. That is the time for you to praise. We do not praise when there is no burden; we praise when the burden becomes too heavy. When you encounter unusual circumstances and problems and are bewildered and feel like collapsing, just remember one thing, “Why not praise?” Here is a golden opportunity. If you offer your praise at that moment, God’s Spirit will operate in you, open all the doors, and break all the chains. (The Collected Works of Watchman Nee, vol. 48, pp. 169, 227-228, 252)

Life Practices – Singing

Higher Ground | Day 11


Eph. 5:18–19 – And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissoluteness, but be filled in spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and psalming with your heart to the Lord.
Acts 16:25 – And about midnight Paul and Silas, while praying, sang hymns of praise to God; and the prisoners were listening to them.

We must learn to sing because the more we sing, the more we get out of our mind and forget about our circumstances. The more we sing, the more we are in the spirit and the more our spirit is open and released. This is not my thought or opinion; this is the thought of the Holy Spirit and the thought of the apostle Paul. In Ephesians 5:18–19, Paul says that we should be filled in spirit, speaking to one another by singing. If we speak to one another by singing a psalm, hymn, or spiritual song, our spirits will be exercised and the Spirit will come out. We should not try to sing in a musical way but in a spiritual way. We should even forget about the music, the meter, and the rhyme. I am not a musician or an expert singer; I cannot sing that well. However, whether I sing well or not, I must sing. We must learn how to praise the Lord by singing. We need to read, study, and be able to recite some hymns. This way we can sing on the street or in the car. This matter is revealed not only in the New Testament but also in the Old Testament. When the people of Israel came together to worship God in the Old Testament, they sang as they were on their way to Zion (Psa. 133:1–3). If we sing while we are coming to the meeting in the car, the meeting will be in the heavens. We must learn to exercise and open our spirit by singing. (The Exercise of Our Spirit for the Release of the Spirit, pp. 23, 39–40)

Life Practices – Exercising Our Spirit to Pray with The Word

Higher Ground | Day 10


John 6:63 – It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words which I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.
Matt. 4:4 – But He answered and said, It is written, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out through the mouth of God.”
Jer. 15:16 – Your words were found and I ate them, and Your word became to me the gladness and joy of my heart, for I am called by Your name, O Jehovah, God of hosts.

John 6:63 says, “The words which I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.” The word has to be spirit in order to be life to us. Therefore, we must know how to transfer the word we have understood into the Spirit. If we come to the Bible only by exercising our eyes and mind to understand it, the word is still only the word. The way to transfer the word into the Spirit is by exercising our spirit to pray.

The right way to receive the word is to take it as the breath of life from God (2 Tim. 3:16). This is the life food by which man lives, not by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out from the mouth of God (Matt. 4:4). This is food for the spirit, so we have to exercise our spirit to take it. To receive food for our physical body, we have to exercise our mouth, but to receive spiritual food for our spirit, we have to exercise our spirit. Whenever we come to the word, we need to realize that it is spiritual food. We must exercise our spirit to eat it, not merely to know it. We should forget about knowing and simply eat Christ. This word is the written word of the living Word. It is the expression, the revelation, of the living Word, who is Christ. He is our food, our bread of life, so whenever we come to the Bible, we come to food, not for the body but for the spirit, so we must use our spirit to take it. This is clear to us, but we have to practice to receive the word in this way, not merely to read the Bible for knowledge but to read it for feeding on it. (Enjoying Christ as the Word and the Spirit through Prayer, pp. 31-33)

Life Practices – Prayer

Higher Ground | Day 9


John 4:24 – God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truthfulness.
Heb. 10:19 – Having therefore, brothers, boldness for entering the Holy of Holies in the blood of Jesus.

Prayer is for contacting God and having fellowship with Him. The emphasis here is not on asking God concerning different matters. Prayer is a means and a way of fellowship. Fellowship with God must be by prayer and through prayer. The real meaning of prayer is to contact God and absorb Him.

First, prayer that contacts God consists of words spoken genuinely from the heart. We must pray according to our inward feeling. We should not exercise our mind like a student taking an exam. Neither should we focus on the wording of prayer as if we are writing an essay. Such prayers are not very genuine; they are rather pretentious. When we come before God to pray, we should not be pretentious. We should speak what we feel within. When we are angry, we should voice our anger before God. When we are happy, we should voice our happiness before God. When we are sad, we should voice our sadness before God. When we are under pressure, we should speak of this pressure before God. When we sense that we are sinful, we should confess it before God. We should speak what we feel within, speaking genuine words from our heart.

When we come before God without being pretentious or memorizing the things we need to pray for and we simply place ourselves before Him and let the Holy Spirit shine in us, He causes us to sense and see certain sins or mistakes that we have committed. At that time, we should confess the sin according to this sense. We should confess only as much as we sense. We do not need to take care of what we have not sensed. While confessing, we need to receive the precious blood, rely on the blood, and apply the effectiveness of the blood. If we continue praying in this way, we can be assured that we will touch God’s presence and contact Him. (Lessons for New Believers, pp. 324-325, 328-329)

Life Practices – Calling on the name of the Lord

Higher Ground | Day 8


Romans 10:12-13 – For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord is Lord of all and rich to all who call upon Him; 13 for “whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

If we call on a person who is real, true, and living, he will come to us. Is Jesus real today? Is Jesus living? Surely He is. When we call, “O Lord Jesus,” He comes to us with all His riches….Romans 10 does not say that the Lord is rich unto all that believe on Him, worship Him, meditate on Him, or pray to Him. It says that the Lord is rich to all who call upon Him (v. 12). Whosoever calls upon His name shall be saved (Rom. 10:12–13)…Do not consider that being saved is such a simple thing. When we believed in the Lord Jesus, we were saved, but we also need to be saved throughout our Christian life. To be saved is not merely to be delivered from hell, to be rescued from God’s eternal judgment. That is too negative. To be saved is to get into the full enjoyment of all the riches of Christ. Christ is so rich. He is everything to us. We can enter into the enjoyment of all the riches of Christ by calling on His name—“O Lord Jesus.”

If we would open up our mouth, deep from our heart and with our spirit, to call “Lord Jesus,” He would get into us. This is the way to take Christ into us, the vessels. He is the content, and we are the containers. The way for us, the containers, to take Him in as the content is to exercise our mouth to call upon His name: “O Lord Jesus!” In this way all the bottles, the vessels will be filled up with Christ not only as their salvation but also as all that He is in His unsearchable riches. (The Living and Practical Way to Enjoy Christ, pp. 30–31, 33)

Life Practices – Being Filled by Repenting and Confessing

Higher Ground | Day 7


Acts 3:19 – Repent therefore and turn, that your sins may be wiped away.
Acts 24:16 – Because of this I also exercise myself to always have a conscience without offense toward God and men.
Eph. 5:18 – Do not be drunk with wine…but be filled in spirit.

The heart is the gateway—the entrance and exit—of the spirit. Our heart must be open to the Lord in order for Him to come into our spirit. How can we open our heart? We must repent and continue to repent in order to exercise our conscience. Not only did we need to repent at the time we heard the gospel, but even after we are saved we have to repent continually. In the seven epistles in Revelation 2 and 3 the Lord demands that we repent (2:5, 16; 3:3, 19). To repent is to turn our mind, which is one door of the gateway of our heart. When we turn our mind and our mind is open, our confession follows. This is the exercise and opening of the conscience. Then when we have true repentance and real confession, our emotion and will follow to make a decision for the Lord. In this way, the whole heart is exercised and open, and the Lord comes in through our heart into our spirit. (Practical Lessons on the Experience of Life, p. 119)

How much the Spirit can fill you within depends on how much room you give Him. The more room you give Him, the more He fills you. Similarly, the amount of air that fills a bottle depends on how much space there is in the bottle. If half of the bottle is filled with soil, air can fill only half of the bottle. The more the soil is removed from the bottle, however, the more the air will fill it. In the same way, the more you remove the defilement of sin and the filthiness that is within you, the more the Holy Spirit will be able to fill you. As you empty out, the Spirit will fill you. When you have completely emptied yourself of all filthiness, then you will also be completely filled with the Spirit. (Vessels Useful to the Lord, pp. 124-125)

Life Practices – A Time with the Lord in the Morning

Higher Ground | Day 6


Psa. 90:14 – Satisfy us in the morning with Your lovingkindness that we may give a ringing shout and rejoice all our days.
Lam. 3:22-23 – It is Jehovah’s lovingkindness that we are not consumed, for His compassions do not fail; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.

In the Bible we find God’s servants rising up early in the morning. Let us consider their examples: Abraham (Gen. 19:27; 21:14; 22:3), Jacob (Gen. 28:18), Moses (Exo. 8:20; 9:13; 24:4; 34:4), Joshua (Josh. 3:1; 6:12; 7:16; 8:10), Gideon (Judg. 6:38), Hannah (1 Sam. 1:19), Samuel (1 Sam. 15:12), David (1 Sam. 17:20), Job (Job 1:5), Mary (Luke 24:22; Mark 16:9; John 20:1), [and] the apostles (Acts 5:21). These many verses tell us that God’s servants had the habit of dealing with God early in the morning. Every one of them had the habit of waking early in the morning and fellowshipping with God early in the morning. They rose up early in the morning to do many things related to God’s business. They also rose up early in the morning to consecrate themselves. Although there is no commandment in the Bible that tells
us to get up early, there are sufficient examples in the Bible to show us that all faithful servants of God rise up early. Even the Lord Jesus Himself rose up early. He rose up very early in the morning, while it was still night, and went away to a deserted place to pray (Mark 1:35). When He wanted to appoint the twelve apostles, He called them to Himself early in the morning (Luke 6:13). If the Lord had to rise up early to do these things, how much more do we need to rise up early?

Any brother or sister who wants to follow the Lord must never think that there is little difference in rising up an hour early. Early rising brings in great blessing. We hope that you will not miss the blessing of early rising at the start of your Christian life. (Messages for Building Up New Believers, pp. 167-168)