John Maulella brought the message this past Sunday, continuing a series on Prayer. He looked at John 15:1-17, giving us a context for prayer.
He began by saying that we often ask "How do I pray more effectively?" meaning "How do I get what I want?" We're practical, wanting a list of techniques, but maybe that's not the right approach.
We looked at the passage in John 15, where Jesus says he is the vine and we are the branches.
We are essentially connective. We're creatures who are made to connect. It's our nature.
Jesus is the true vine -- the One we're to connect to. Where do you get your nourishment from -- your meaning, purpose, and pleasure?
His Father is the gardener.
The branches aren't asking to be pruned.
God reserves the right to interfere in your life, to interrupt your plans.
Pruning strengthens the plant.
In Genesis, God formed us and planted a garden. God gets His hands dirty. The first command was Be fruitful and multiply. Our planet is hardwired for fruitfulness. We want to make a mark.
How do we get to fruitfulness?
1. We need to get clean.
Dust off our leaves! If you're connected to Jesus, you're clean.
2. We need to realize we're helpless.
"Apart from me, you can do nothing."
Cut off from the vine, our efforts can't bring about eternal change.
We pray out of our helplessness. "When I'm weak, then I'm strong."
Bragging about our weakness is countercultural. We're a culture of resumes. As Christians, it's time for un-resumes -- the things I can't do well apart from Christ.
We weren't made to do this on our own.
3. We need to make our home with Jesus.
Jesus asks us to "abide" -- stay, remain, make our home.
Our home is not just about where our residence is.
Home is where they know you, and you know them.
Some of us are afraid to be home because they know us.
Jesus knows us and invites us home anyway.
Abide in me as I abide in you -- not if.
Jesus is already in me, living there. God has decided to make his home in us. We need to catch up!
Back to Prayer:
What do helpless people need to do? We ask!
God needs to be in all parts of our lives. Ask.
What do we ask for? We ask for anything.
James 4 -- We don't have because we don't ask. But when we ask, we make it all about us.
It takes time. Take time with God. Be militant about it, but spend the time.
Get God's words inside of us. ("... and my words abide in you") Make His words part of us.
Become interruptible. Let the Gardener interrupt our lives.
Ask whatever you want.
We followed the sermon with a time of Communion.