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A Plea for Prayer

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A Bit of Commentary

Verse 2 - “he prunes” - This thing is necessary for real trees; in order for their branches to bear more fruit, they must be pruned or stripped of imperfections. So, this is God cleaning you of all the imperfections that plague you. And this isn’t something that is given only to some or used only once in a great while, it’s something that the Lord promises He’ll do (Hebrews 12:5-6)

Verse 4 - Picture a branch all alone on the ground. Can it bear fruit? No! It is stranded, without a source of nourishment to even sustain it, let alone produce fruit. Now, apply this vivid picture to yourself. Can you bear fruit, or do good works, while you’re apart from God’s will? Likewise, no! Because you’re not connected to the Life Giver who gives you the nourishment you need to produce nutritious fruit! Just as a lone branch will wither away and die apart from its vine, so too will you perish (or live an empty, meaningless life) apart from your Vine. There is no survival apart from the source.

Verse 5 - “Apart from me you can do nothing” - Notice what this does not say. It doesn’t say: “Apart from me you can do only some things” or “Apart from me you can do only little things”. No, it says: “Apart from me you can do NOTHING!” Not even the smallest, easiest thing can be done without God. So, what does this mean practically? I mean, of course you see your nonbeliever friends turn in their homework apart from God, so what does He mean here? Well, He seems to be speaking not of earthly things, but of eternal things. Sure, alone we can do a homework assignment in an alright fashion, but we can’t advance God’s kingdom without God. And the good news is that not only does God give us the strength to do things that have obvious eternal value, but He empowers us to do earthly things in an eternal mindset, that can produce eternal rewards. You know what that means? You can have a whole new purpose for doing that next boring homework assignment…

Verse 7 - This verse contains quite a promise: “ask whatever you wish, and it will be given to you”. So, this means I can ask for a million dollars and get it, right? Well, hold on a minute. Did you catch the first part of this verse? This promise is conditional: “If you remain in me and my words remain in you…”, then you can ask. So, essentially if our request aligns with His will, then He is happy to grant it. (Psalm 84:11, 1 John 3:22, 1 John 5:14)

I recommend reading the rest of this chapter and the next two (Ch.’s 15-17)

Some Prayer Principles:

We should always be praying (Psalm 105:4 & 1 Thessalonians 5:17)
God always knows what we need, even when we can’t describe it in words (Romans 8:26-27)
God is able to grant anything that is according to His will (Ephesians 3:20)
We must believe that God will grant prayers that are according to His will (Mark 11:24)
The cure for anxiety is prayer and thanksgiving! (Philippians 4:6-9)

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