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The Prayer Circle: Pray While Abiding in the Vine

Thanks for meeting us at the prayer circle.

Our prayer meetings need to be rescued from self-sufficiency, random requests, and fruitlessness. The key to accomplishing this, however, is one that is difficult for us to grasp.

The dependent prayer, the one who abides in Christ, receives remarkable promises in John 15 that we’ll explore in this week’s Prayer Circle.

Pray While Abiding in the Vine

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)

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 whatsoever you ask the Father in My name, He may it you. (15:16)

Miracle of miracles—when we abide, really abide in Christ, our desires our purified and we are asking right things for the right reasons under the right authority and we get answers! I want to be there! I want us, our prayer group, to be there.

Dr. Huegel in Bones of His Bones says it so well:

“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.

Only ‘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.”

Joe Humrichous

Joe Humrichous is the executive director of Paradigm One and Bible Prayer Fellowship. The message of the sufficiency of Christ for both the pastor and the local church was birthed during a time of brokenness in his early ministry. Now after 50 years in ministry, Joe is passionate to share this reality as it applies to corporate prayer and church leadership. He recently served as a pastor at First Baptist Church in Covington, Indiana. He and his wife Teresa have 5 children and 13 grandchildren.

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