Living in Alignment-Aligning our Prayers
John 15:1-8 15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 REMAIN in me, as I also REMAIN in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must REMAIN in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you REMAIN in me.5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you REMAIN in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not REMAIN in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you REMAIN in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
What these verses tell me is that God wants your prayers to be answered. That is encouraging to me. God wants me to be successful when I pray. I believe bearing fruit, in this context, means having your prayers answered. Verse 8 says that God is glorified when our prayers are answered. It also says that we show we are disciples of Christ when our prayers are answered. Fruit-bearing involves fruitful praying. How can we be sure we are aiming our prayers in a way that will bear fruit?
First and foremost, we have to be aligned with God. He is the Vine, and we are the branches. Proper alignment with God is key in having fruitful prayers that reveal God’s glory.
I John 5:14-15-14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.
When what we are praying for aligns with His will, every one of those prayers will be answered. Praying God’s will is a by-product of being in alignment with Him. It means shooting our faith at His target rather than any other target we would set up. It means desiring His way over our way in every situation.
It doesn’t mean we set aside every desire we have. It means that as we pray, we ask for discernment to know whether what we desire is something God can bless. Sin isn’t God’s will. So, if we are hoping to grow and progress in some area of sin, we aren’t living in accordance with His will. God has made His moral will clear in the Bible. The Ten Commandments aren’t difficult to understand. Read them in Exodus 20. We don’t have to guess how God wants us to treat others, how He wants us to use our bodies, or what kinds of activities we should engage in as believers. There is plenty of Scripture to guide us in such things. He puts His Holy Spirit inside of us to check us, to guide us, to whisper to us, “That’s not something you should watch.” “That’s not a place you should go.” “That’s not a joke you should tell.” “That’s not something you should post.” “That’s not an appropriate use of your body.” If we have been converted in our hearts, if we are Children of God, far more often than not, we will absolutely KNOW when we are sinning. We won’t have to guess what behaviors, attitudes and thoughts are inside or outside of the will of God. We’re gonna know.
II Peter 3:9 tells us that it is God’s will that everyone would be saved. When you pray for the salvation of your friends and loved ones, you are sending an arrow of faith to the right target. I believe God will be at work in the hearts of those we are covering in prayer.
In the prayer Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He said, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven,” and He meant it. Jesus prayed for the will of God to be expressed and experienced on earth. God has a Sovereign Will that He will accomplish with or without our help. He has a will for your life, however, that can only be accomplished with your participation. I can’t prove this, but I believe when Jesus prayed for God’s will to be accomplished on earth as it was in Heaven that He was praying a very personal prayer about God’s will being accomplished in His own life.
If you are truly aligned with God, you will want to submit to whatever God’s will is for your life because you will live convinced that it is best and is far better than anything you could script. We know Jesus was totally submitted to the Father because just before the Garden Arrest and the events that led to the Resurrection, Jesus prayed. He prayed about what was coming. He knew what He would endure. He knew how He would be betrayed and beaten and mocked and humiliated and hung on a cross to die as the sacrifice for the sins of the world. He knew all of that in advance. In that moment of intense prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, He prayed, “Not my will, but yours be done” even though it meant horrific consequences for Himself. Jesus was so aligned with the Father that He willingly gave His life when the time came to do so. I believe He could only do it because He was aligned with the Father. It was alignment with His Heavenly Father that gave Jesus the strength to pray the prayer He prayed, and it was that alignment that also gave Him the strength to pay the price He paid.
Praying the Scriptures is another way to pray according to the will of God. I posted an article about how to do that on the church Facebook page last Thursday. Scroll back and read it. Here is a great Scripture to pray, “Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.” Psalm 143:10
Jesus said His “food” was to do the will of His Heavenly Father. Are we as focused on doing the will of God? Is accomplishing His will as important as daily food? How often is God’s will in our thoughts? Every time I eat, I am going to let that be a reminder to pray, “God, show me your will for me today.” (That means I’m going to be praying a lot more from now on.)
Alignment with God will create a desire to know and do the will of God. When your will is aligned with God’s will, your prayers will be fruitful, and God will gain greater glory in your life.