How often I go to God with big prayer requests. For family, for friends, for places and people who need God’s help. I believe God answers prayer. The Bible encourages us to ask God for what we need. We’re to go boldly and often to God with our heartfelt desires (Philippians 4:6,7).
But in John 15, Jesus points us to our relationship with Him as the starting point for prayer. Calling Himself the “true vine,” He reminds us that we’re His branches. Branches can’t bear fruit if disconnected from the vine.
In my busy, noisy world, I’m likely to blow right past the relationship with Jesus in my prayer quest. Jesus stops me dead in my tracks with these words. If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you (John 15:7).
Abide is from the Greek word meno, which means to “remain or dwell.” I’m to make my home in Jesus. I’m to plant myself in Him and His words in me. This sets up the condition for faithful living as well as answered prayer. When I abide in Him, I’m more likely to be praying His will. Powerful words. Powerful reminder.
I’m struck by the fact that Jesus uses the word abide eleven times in the first ten verses of John 15. If I tell my kids something eleven times, you can bet I mean it!
So what does abiding look like for me practically? Here are a few thoughts:
1. I carve out time to spend in God’s Word each morning. I plant His Word in my heart. Then, I try keep in step with His leading and be alert to His whispers throughout my day. I try to guard myself against jumping ahead of His leading.
2. I’m fierce with my Sabbath. Humans need to come apart or we “come apart.” Few voices these days encourage us to take time off to rest, reflect, and abide.
3. When I abide in Jesus, I may have to let a few of life’s “outer things” slide a bit. Care of the soul may not be as obvious as care of my image.
And if we abide in Jesus? “This is to my Father’s glory,” He reminds us, “that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples” (John 15:8).
How about you? What helps you to abide in Christ? He’s worth your best energy. Let’s ponder that today.