It’s gardening time!
At the beginning of each year when the seed and flower catalogs start arriving in the mail, I begin dreaming of planting a garden in the spring. When spring finally arrives, I start thinking of rototilling, preparing the soil, planting the seeds, the daily weed picking, hoeing, fertilizing, and all the while fearing those slithering garden snakes. And each year since raising a family, I have talked myself right out of it. After all, gardening is a big commitment.
Am I a branch trying to bear fruit by myself or am I growing in Christ to bear fruit as His disciple?
And that’s where the word commitment comes back into the conversation I have been having with myself lately. In fact, recently, I have been writing in my prayer journal the word ‘commitment’ so I can prayerfully recognize how God is pruning me for greater service.
How committed am I to serve God?
When serving is convenient for me?
Or when it doesn’t take too much of my time or energy?
And how about those slithering garden snakes?
“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. 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. 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.” John 15:5-8
As I look back over the years and reread my prayer journals, there have been other words like the word commitment that God required me to consider. He has been pruning and planting words like bitterness (toxic like poison ivy), forgiveness (I’m not going to lie that weed takes a rototiller), control (stubborn as crabgrass), patience (it grows slowly), perseverance (is that Latin for wild violets?), faith (mustard seed), hope and love (rose of Sharon). Let’s just say He’s still pulling weeds, fertilizing vegetables, and planting flowers in my life; but I can look back in those prayer journals with awe and reflect on how God protected me from some pretty powerful storms. And as I become stronger on the vine in Christ’s Word, I know I will be able to withstand any kind of weather (or snakes).
Storms are inevitable, but so are rainbows.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.” John 15:9-17
Christ chose me. He appointed me to be His disciple so others may know of His everlasting love and joy.
How can I say no to God who made the ultimate commitment to save me from being cut off like a dead branch?
I never know how many pages I will write in a given day in my prayer journal. But I always leave space to write more for when God has answered my prayers or has shown me His way. I try to leave the margins of my journal scribble-free so when I go back days, weeks, months or even years later, I can note how I have grown in my relationship with God. I often leave a half page blank at the end of my writing for the day.
Why leave a half a page?
One time I totally spaced writing in my prayer journal one day. I really couldn’t believe I had neglected to write because I don’t remember being busy that day. So I was surprised when I went to my prayer journal to see the last date was not from the day before. Obviously, God was trying to tell me something as I stared at that blank page. What I believe in my heart He was trying to say was how He doesn’t want me to be separated from Him, not even for one day. I need Him in my life every day. I left that one-page blank as a reminder that I cannot go a day without my Lord and Savior. If you need that reminder too, be all means leave one-page blank in your prayer journal.
The yellow highlighter
Before I start a new prayer journal, I reread the one I have just completed. Often, I will even go back and reread several of my journals so I can see my progress with drawing closer to my relationship with God. If I see areas I am still struggling, or if I had transcribed a quote, special passage or Bible verse, I will highlight it in yellow. The yellow highlighter helps me to notice particular areas when I reread my prayer journals again.
Praying the Scripture:
“Commit (my) works to the LORD, and (my) thoughts will be established.” Proverbs 16:3
“Give (me) help from trouble, For the help of man is useless, Through God we will do valiantly, For it is He who shall tread down (my) enemies.” Psalm 60:11-12
“I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ has not accomplished through me.” Romans 15:18
Prayer Writing Prompt:
Am I a dead branch ready to be cut off, or am I just being pruned to bear fruit that will last?
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Blessings to you!
If you would like me to pray for you, email Sheri at Hoot@TheBloggingOwl.com or send a tweet @PrayerPrompts