Connecting Our Position to Petition

In John 15:7, Jesus said that if His followers abide in Him and His Word, then they can ask whatever they desire and it will be done for them. He said this in the context of telling His disciples that He is the vine and His followers are the branches. As a branch abides in the vine, so are we to abide (have union and communion) with Jesus.

Ronald Dunn’s book, Don’t Just Stand There, Pray Something: The Incredible Power of Intercessory Prayer, help us understand that thepurpose 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. And as we abide in Him, we will bear much fruit (verse 5).

If we are not abiding in Jesus and our spiritual life is weak, then our prayer life will ultimately follow. We can’t fake out God.

As Andrew Murray said, “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.”

Consider the following passages from the Bible that talk about how our personal lives affect our prayers:

  • It’s the “the prayer of a righteous person” that accomplishes much (James 5:16). (Note: As Christians, we are all positionally righteous before God because of the sacrificial work of the cross. But there is still a truth that God wants us to live a righteous life.)
  • If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened (Psalm 66:18). 
  • God tells us to reconcile with our brother first before we pray to Him (Matthew 5:23-24). 
  • Micah said to do justly, to love mercy, and walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8). 
  • Paul told Timothy that he wanted men everywhere to offer prayer with holy hands unstained by anger and dissensions (1 Timothy 2:8).

So, what can we do to grow in this area of our lives? Michael Sabo suggests (in his book The Life I Want in Christ) that we can practice abiding in Christ by focusing on God, not on being godly. He says, “The more you focus on God the more godly you will become.” Sabo also gives some insights on some disciplines we can integrate into our lives to help us abide in Christ:

  • Take your thoughts captive to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5)
  • Trust Christ for everything
  • Ask Christ questions and then listen
  • Understand that a focus on self will hinder intimacy with God
  • Refrain from concentrating too much on service and activity for God, so we don’t actually thwart our true goal, knowing God Himself

As you look at this list, are there any areas that you need to work on in your life?