In this eighth blog about prayer, I borrow insights from Ronald Dunn’s book, Don’t Just Stand There, Pray Something: The Incredible Power of Intercessory Prayer.
“Many think that they must, with their defective spiritual life, work themselves up to pray more. They do not understand that only in proportion as the spiritual life is strengthened can the prayer life increase. Prayer and life are inseparably connected.” (Andrew Murray).
Learning to Abide
One of my favorite verses is John 15:7: If you abide in My, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.
Jesus is the true vine and its branches describe His relationship with his disciples. We are to be to Jesus as a branch is to a vine. As a branch abides in the vine, we are to abide (union and communion) in Jesus (John 15:1-8).
The purpose of the branch is to bear fruit. A branch has no value in itself. The branch is only good for bearing fruit. The branch doesn’t produce the fruit; it bears the fruit. The responsibility of producing fruit is not upon us, but on Christ. Our part is to be a healthy branch living in union and communion with Christ. Fruit is the outward expression of the inward nature. Our part is to abide.
Fruit, More Fruit, Much Fruit
John 15:2 talks about bearing fruit and then pruned to bear more fruit and
John 15:5 about bearing much fruit by “abiding in Me, and I in Him.”
Do we become more fruitful by adding more branches? In other words, if we add more activities, will we bear more fruit? It’s not more branches that make the vine more fruitful. It’s healthier branches.
Do we stay idle so we can abide in the vine? Take a look at Hebrews 4:10: “for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.” It ceasing from our works by doing the works of God instead. We make ourselves available to do what God wants?
Are Jesus’ words making a home in our hearts? “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments is a liar and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:3-4).
Pruning is how God works so we bear more and much fruit. Often, it’s the good activities that drain us of energy where we have nothing left for bearing fruit. We are so busy doing that there’s no time to be. Mary chose the good part sitting at the feet of Jesus. Martha was distracted and so busy by her serving that she didn’t have time to enjoy Jesus’ presence (Luke 10:38-42).
Here are some practical suggestions to help you sit at the feet of Jesus by reading God’s word:
- Read the Bible regularly. Gather fresh manna every day.
- Read the Bible alertly. Choose a time when your mind is fresh and awake.
- Read the Bible systematically. Pick a book and read through it.
- Read the Bible with variety. Try different translations.
- Read the Bible prayerfully. Ask God to give you something to live by that day. Turn the verses into prayers and praises.
- Read the Bible expectantly. Approach your Bible study expecting God to meet you and speak to you through His Word.
- Read the Bible obediently. Revelation demands response. Obedience keeps the daily devotion from becoming an empty ritual.
Offer to Pray for Disciple Making Movements: New time: pray weekly each Monday, 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. CDT for disciple making movements https://bit.ly/jitsi_mark
Offer to Read God’s Word and Pray with You: Let me know days and times that you’re available to read God’s word with me and pray afterward by video chat. My email: firstname.lastname@example.org or mobile: (402) 617-4959