There is a joy and peace in our hearts when we sense that God is really hearing us and we are in tune with Him. What we want to do in this series is to be faithful as prayers and prayer leaders to gently shepherd people to the place where God is really hearing our prayers as a group. It seems to me that prayer often dies in a church where there is no active shepherding—thus, people are allowed to fall back to a default mode of praying prayers off the top of their heads.
Recently, while doing a prayer seminar in a local church, the students became very free to share what they found discouraging or, should I say “draining,” about prayer meetings. The first response was that too often prayers seemed to have a self-serving agenda. Others mentioned: the presence of known discord, repetition, wordiness, and a constant focus on outer man issues. These things can easily become “downers” and we need to help good-hearted people steer away from them.
By learning to abide in the Vine (Jesus) while we pray will rescue prayer from self-sufficiency, random requests, and fruitlessness.
John 15:5 was one of the hardest verses in the Bible for me to believe and practice.
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.
As a German farmer, I thought ministry happened by trying harder and working longer. I had to learn my helplessness was real and employ it in my prayers as I rested in love in Christ.
O. Hallesbe says “Helplessness plus faith equals prayer.” I like that when we pray, while abiding in the Vine, we are actually participating with the Father in His vineyard!
Two verses from John 15 set forth an amazing “wow” factor for the dependent prayer. Here they are:
If you abide in Me and my words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. (15:7)