Impacting Cities & Communities thru Prayer
A Community of Prayer Champions, Praying Churches, Prayed-for Communities
Can you see an orchard with trees covered with luscious fruit? I'll let you decide what kind of fruit you see. Whatever the fruit, those trees were almost certainly grafted. Any fruit tree has the DNA of two kinds of apple or apricot or whatever fruit. So the desired variety must be grafted into the existing root system either by budding or scion grafting.
Something like that happens as God's word is grafted into our lives. In John 15:7-8 Jesus said,
“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
This particular passage speaks especially to our prayer lives. It clearly teaches that answered prayer flows from character shaped by a deep devotional life. 1 John 4:14 promises answers when we pray in God's will. As our understanding and character conform more to God's will, our prayer lives will become more fruitful. This is the process of spiritual growth.
In John 15:7,8 Jesus calls us to remain in continual fellowship with Him. And He connects abiding in Him with His words living in us. This surely includes memorizing Scripture. Many of our churches work at helping children memorize Bible verses. But adults, even church leaders, sometimes avoid the discipline of Scripture memory.
I recently made a commitment to increase the level of my Scripture memory in the twilight of my life and ministry. I wonder what this might have produced through my prayer life had I done it 40 or 50 years ago. Who knows what God may do through me even now.
For many years I have read the same chapter of The New Testament three days in a row trying to soak it up before moving on to the next. Several months ago I started memorizing the chapter verse by verse before I move on. This has slowed me down some. It usually takes me about a week to memorize a chapter. And this adds to my daily devotional time because I review each memorized verse every day for a month. I may have to do something different, because I am not retaining the verses as well as I would like. I have a long term goal of memorizing the entire New Testament even though the doctors do not think I will live that long. In the process I long for God to make me more like Jesus, and my prayer life more like His. God will continue to transform my thinking as His word is grafted into my heart.
I hunger for God to bear more fruit in the lives of others through my character, relationships, writing, and praying, showing more and more that I am truly a disciple of Jesus Christ.