Pray in the Vine
John 15:5—I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
It seems that most of our journeys in the service of the Lord begin with the idea that we are going to work “for” the Lord. Thus, our prayers take on a similar fashion as we try to think of something to ask Him “for.” Consequently, while good-hearted, we start in the wrong place.
In this reality, we are going to join our Lead Pastor within His life as the True Vine. We are going to see ourselves in our true position and pray while abiding in the Vine. Here we will rescue prayer from self-sufficiency, random requests, and fruitlessness.
My view of leadership and ministry began to drastically change after my first reading of Andrew Murray’s classic handbook on The True Vine. The Vine is the sole provider for the branch. The branch needs only to obey and abide. The care and nutrients the branch receives from the Vine are more than enough to bear all the fruit it can handle. When we, in our inner man, posture ourselves here, we are in a perfect place to work with Him, rest in Him, and pray rightly. While we double down on doctrine, we can double up on dependence and wisely double check our methods.
Veteran missionary F. J. Huegel says it this way in Bone of His Bone:
One thing for the missionary is inevitable. If he is to go forward in the face of seemingly insuperable obstacles which beset him, ushering in a new day for enslaved souls, there are definite spiritual requirements.
If he is to do what God expects of him, and the church expects of him, and what the heart-rending need of these to whom he is an ambassador of light requires of him, then he must himself appropriate in an ever deeper and fuller way the power of Christ. He must himself be bound to that unconquerable Christ who all down the centuries has through His disciples achieved the impossible. He must get beyond a mere intellectual knowledge of the historical Christ, and so entwine the tendrils of his spiritual nature in the eternal Christ that he imbibes a divine life!
The job he is attempting to do requires of him superhuman force. The merely human, however noble and strong and cultivated, will prove as insufficient and as inadequate as a handful of glowing coals would be for the dissipation of an arctic blizzard. He must transcend the purely natural and immerse himself in the supernatural. He must experience the power of the indwelling Christ, and, dispossessed of his own life, become in an ever-fuller measure possessed of a divine life.
Our “rivers of living water” flowing from His innermost being—the promise which the Savior has made to His own—can make possible the renewal of life in those to whom he is sent.
Laws of the Vine
|The law of Christ alone||“I am the vine”|
|The law of ownership||“My father is the vinedresser”|
|The law of the cleansing Word||“You are already clean because of the Word which I have spoken to you.”|
|The law of abiding||“Abide in Me”|
|The law of helplessness||“Without Me you can do nothing.”|
|The law of love||“Abide in My love”|
Here are two unconditional promises about prayer as we abide in the life of our Lead Pastor:
John 15:7—If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.
John 15:16—You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.
Please notice that we have been chosen and called by Jesus to do this.
From Belief to Behavior
Give thanks for your place in the Vine.
Give thanks for your calling.
Take note of the “do nothing.”
Pray through the laws of the Vine.