John 15:1-8: The cleansing Word.
“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 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.” NIV
”You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you” (3).
”Cleansing her by the washing with water through the word…” (Ephesians 5:26).
I had a very dear friend; a Scotsman called John, who came back to solid faith in Jesus during the time I was living in Morecambe, and helping to plant a church in Lancaster. John had spent years in ‘the wilderness.’ So he was now playing catch up. He became a keen Christian and avidly read the Bible. It was exciting to spend time with John and converse with him. We spent hours together talking about the things of God. He lived in the Scriptures, and was profoundly drawn to Paul’s letter to the ‘Romans’. But by now his memory was not what it had been, although he was still physically strong and active. He bemoaned the fact that he wasn’t retaining much of what he read. ”But, I suppose,” he said to me, ”it’s like water going through a sieve. It cleanses as it goes.”
Jesus’ Word is a cleansing Word.
It is also a clarifying Word (7).
How do you know what to pray? How can you know that your prayers will be answered? The Bible itself will clarify things for you. In Timothy Keller’s excellent book on prayer, he emphasises the great tradition going back to the reformers, that encourages prayer to arise from meditation on Scripture. Pray the Bible. Take what you are reading and reflecting upon, and turn it into prayer.
The ‘rails’ for prayer are laid down in God’s Word. It is up to us to travel on them.
PRAYER: Lord, I don’t want to get ‘derailed’!