Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Center on the Vine? Abide? Remain?
I purposely chose a Name of God that has given me difficulty for years. This particular Name comes from John 15:5. My Name of God for today is Vine.
“5 I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.” This is Jesus talking to the disciples in the Upper Room Discourse. I have had difficulty—for years and years!—with that simple word “abide.” For the life of me, I could not get the concept through my head. I kept going around and around. As far as John 15 was concerned, “abide” meant “remain.” And “remain” meant “reside.” Which also meant “abide.” Argh!!
I finally had a kind of a breakthrough while reading a bible commentary on John about two years ago. I can’t for the life of me remember which commentary this was, but the writer drew a comparison of camping versus building a proper house. When I abide in Christ, I am taking up residence, putting down roots. It is no fly by night kind of thing—unlike temporary camping, where I could set up a tent for a night or two, and be gone the next.
Since I had that breakthrough and now am better able to comprehend what Jesus was saying in John 15, I thought I might choose this particular Name.
One might think that the words Jesus used in this chapter might have helped me, or given me a mental picture. No. No such luck here. I have no idea why, but I have had difficulty with this image and this concept for years and years. (And I am usually a visual person!)
However, I persevere. I tried to center and focus with this Name of God. I even tried some Ignatian-prayer-type focus. Alas, I am not very good with this meditative type of prayer. Centering and focusing? Not right now, apparently. At least not today.
Dear Lord Jesus, I know I did try to center and focus on You today. I wonder what You think of me as I founder and flounder about, in prayer? I did not have the sense that the Holy Spirit was as present as at other times. (I know, I very well could be wrong about that.) But I felt particularly un-focused. Dear Lord, the best I can say is that I tried. And, I hope that my prayers to You rise before You like incense. Thank You for listening.
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