This morning the snow falls soft and quiet, blanketing the world with a magic all its own. Snow covers the trees, tracing designs and patterns across the sky as branches reach heavenward. The evergreens bow down under the weight of this wonder of water transformed into snow.
Transforming our prayer.
What is abiding prayer?
Water to snow, this transformation is much like prayer in the heart of a believer. The thoughts and desires, the needs and concerns become prayers. [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][tweetthis]The more we abide in Christ, the more organic transformation between our daily thoughts prayerful living becomes.[/tweetthis]
“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing” –John 15:5
Has anyone ever asked you this: “How’s your prayer life?”
As if prayer is an activity rather than a natural part of living in Christ. It is so easy to think of prayer as something to do, something that only happens when we can muster up the right amount of faith and form the right words. We are tempted to draw clear lines around our definitions of prayer, squeezing it tight into formulas and techniques and possibly even formal language.
And yet, if we are abiding in Christ and He is in us, the conversation of prayer is as natural as the thoughts of our minds and the emotions of our hearts. A branch does not have to set a date on the calendar or make a great effort to be a part of the vine.
A branch is a part of the vine, naturally sprouting and growing forth from it’s life source. Connected to Christ, prayer works the same way.
A branch without the vine has no ability, will, or sustenance on its own. Severed from the vine, branches wither with a brittle lack of life.
For apart from me you can do nothing.
From this position of remaining connected in a life-giving union with Christ, prayer begins with receiving and blossoms forth from the branch. Life comes through the vine but is seen in the growth and fruit of the branch.
We often measure the effectiveness and power of our prayer based on “getting the answer” we wanted. [/fusion_builder_column][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][tweetthis hidden_hashtags=”#prayer”]And though God delights to answer our prayers, prayer cannot be diminished to a transaction.[/tweetthis] Oswald Chambers writes that “the purpose of prayer is to get ahold of God” and is far more about a trusting relationship rather than getting answers.
Do you ever find yourself praying as if you are bringing the need to God’s attention?
As if he won’t know if you don’t pray? God already knows, and prayer really isn’t about convincing God to do what we think needs to be done. When we are connected to the vine, prayer begins with God and bears fruit through our prayers. In her book, Live a Praying Life, Jennifer Kennedy Dean reminds us that “Prayer releases the power of God for the purpose of God.”
A Living Offering
“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect“–Romans 12:1-2.
Presenting our lives to God is part of that vital connection between the vine and the branch, between God’s heart and mine. Offering and abiding brings the transformation that only God can do, renewing our minds, feeding our souls, and shaping our prayers.
Ginger Harrington, social media coordinator for Planting Roots, also writes at her award-winning website. She has also written military themed posts for Guideposts Military Blog and (in)courage. Ginger and her retired Marine husband have enjoyed twenty-four years of military life and are parents to three young adults.