Jesus says in John 15:7, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” I have been on a quest to understand this promise of asking and have concluded that Jesus is referring to the prayers of the vine: prayers that are instinctively in alignment with God’s will because remaining on the vine is the one and only object of one’s desire.
Notice how many times Jesus says the word remain in these verses.
The Vine and the Branches
John 15:5-7 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”
What does it mean to remain? This is a deep and wide question. Below is a scenario that describes one aspect of remaining.
Imagine a young girl standing on a street corner with her mother. The mother has her hand gently planted on the child’s shoulder. They are waiting for the light to turn green so they can cross the street. The girl does not see any cars coming from either direction and flexes with the intention to run across the street. Just then a car zooms by and the child is startled but then remains as she realizes the boundaries set by the light and her mother have protected her. Just like this child who has learned a valuable lesson of remaining on that street corner until the signal indicates she can cross, I want to explore and obey the deep truths Jesus teaches about remaining on the vine.
I thought of this analogy because too often I get impatient with God and want to run ahead of him – especially when a prayer doesn’t appear to be answered. Sometimes I think the boundaries God has set for me are too strict, and I want to step outside the parameters He clearly sets for me in the Bible. Too often I attempt to obey God’s Word but do not couple my actions with total reliance on the Holy Spirit to work, so I just go ahead and make things happen the way I think they should happen. Patience is not my strength. I’m an A to B then C and so on type of person.
To remain, I need to understand to the role Jesus has assigned to me on the vine.
Jesus is the vine and nourishes the branch, giving it life through the Holy Spirit.
I am the branch that is to remain on the vine.
God is the gardener who prunes the branch to assure it is fruitful.
All God is asking of me is that I remain and He will do the rest. I’m to stay put and receive the truth of the vine into my life, be patient in the dormant season and appreciate the pruning because I know it will result in a harvest later.
Remaining alleviates all frustration to achieve, all angst in performance, all people pleasing and all self-glory in my life.
I have selected 10 prayers in the Bible that I will be praying throughout 2019, and I call them my prayers of the vine. I trust that by meditating on these prayers they will prompt me to do things I wouldn’t have thought of doing because they will be Holy Spirit driven.
In my previous post I explain how my first prayer of the vine inspired me to do the Whole30 program for better health, and now I’m on day 18 of this program and have dropped 9 pounds and I feel amazing!! These prayers will also reveal to me the work God has for me to do, and this work will come to me. I will not have to wonder what God’s will is for me.
Below is my list of prayers from the vine. I changed the pronouns in the verses to make them personal, but I will also be praying these prayers for family and friends. If you want me to pray any of these prayers for you, let me know and I would be glad to do it. I’m writing all my prayers in a prayer journal that is more of an artist book because I want to draw in it too.
Prayer to produce the fruit of good health
3 John 1-2 Jesus I pray that I may enjoy good health and that all may go well with me, even as my soul is getting along well.
Prayer to submit to the pruning process
Hebrews 12:11 Father I know that the discipline you give me does not seem pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, I know it will produce a harvest of righteousness and peace because I have been trained by it.
Prayers to receive the nourishment from the vine
Colossians 1:9-14 God please fill me with the knowledge of your will through all wisdom and understanding that the spirit gives, so that I may live a life worthy of you and please you in every good work, growing in your knowledge, being strengthened with all power according to your glorious might so that I may have great endurance and patience, and give joyful thanks to you, who has qualified me to share in the inheritance of your holy people in the kingdom of light. For you have rescued me from the dominion of darkness and brought me into the kingdom of the son you love, in whom I have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Ephesians 3:16-19 Jesus I pray that out of your glorious riches you may strengthen me with power through your spirit in my inner being, so that you may dwell in my heart through faith. And I pray that I, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all your people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is your love and for me to know this love that surpasses knowledge that I may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of you.
Ephesians 3:20 Father open my eyes to how you can do immeasurably more than all I can ask or imagine, according to your power that is at work within me.
Prayer to produce the fruit of love in abundance
Philippians 1:9-11 God please have my love abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that I’ll be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ – to the glory and praise of you.
Prayer to produce the fruit of peace
1 Timothy 2:2-6 Father I know that you want me to offer petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. I know that doing this is good, and pleases you and Jesus my Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
Prayer to produce the fruit of joy as a result of partnership with God’s people
Philippians 1:3-6 God thank you for my brothers and sisters in the Rogue Valley church. I pray with joy for our partnership in the gospel and I am confident that you began a good work in us and will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Prayer to produce the fruit of self-control in speech
Colossians 4:3 Father I so desire to devote myself to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3Please open a door for your message, so that I may proclaim the mystery of Christ. I pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should and be wise in the way I act toward outsiders; making the most of every opportunity. Help my conversation to be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that I may know how to answer everyone.
Prayer for producing the fruit of gratitude
Philemon 1:6 Father I pray that I will be active in sharing what I believe because then I will completely understand every good thing I have in Christ.
I hope this post encourages you to investigate on your own the meaning of the vine and branches. For me, gaining a deeper understanding of these truths in the Bible has revolutionized my heart and given me hope for my future because it is in God’s hands and not mine, and I can’t wait to see God do immeasurably more than I could ever ask or imagine – and to God be the glory.