Truly, God has given us a wonderful part to play in His divine plan. By promising to answer our prayers, He has made it possible for us to become agents of His will on the earth. He’s given us the privilege of making supernatural changes in natural circumstances. From our perspective, it is an amazing opportunity. But God sees it as more than an opportunity—He considers it our responsibility. Read what Jesus said to His disciples in John 15 and you’ll see what we mean: • I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. • Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. • You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. • Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. • I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. • If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. • If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. • By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. • You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. (vv. 1–9) According to that last verse, our mission and purpose on this earth as Jesus’ disciples is to bear fruit. What kind of fruit? The fruit of answered prayer! If we’re not praying effective prayers that produce results, we’re not fulfilling our purpose for being here. The reason we weren’t beamed up to heaven as soon as we were born again is so that we could pray and bear fruit for God! In this passage, Jesus also makes it clear that the key to bearing that fruit in prayer is staying fully connected to Him. Think again about what Jesus said in John 15: I am the vine, you are the branches, He who abides in Me, and I in him bears much fruit…If you live in Me [abide vitally united to me] and My words remain in you and continue to live in your hearts, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you. (vv. 5-7) When we’re living in vital union with Jesus, effective prayers come from us just as naturally and easily as fruit grows on the branch of a vine. Have you ever seen a branch straining, grimacing and saying, “Come on fruit…grow, grow, grow!” Of course not. That branch simply does what it does naturally by virtue of the life that flows to it from the vine. A Complete Connection It’s important to understand, however, that living in vital union with Jesus means more than just being born again. As Christians, we all have a connection to Jesus. But we can all look back over our lives and realize there were times when we were more strongly in union with Him than other times. If you’ve ever seen a tree with a broken branch, you know that if it isn’t broken completely, a single connection to the tree will keep it alive. There won’t be enough life there, however, for the branch to bear fruit. In the same way, if your fellowship with God is broken because you haven’t been walking with Him in accordance with His Word, that doesn’t change your position of righteousness. You are still a righteous branch, but there probably won’t be enough life coming from your connection with God to enable you to bear fruit. Being vitally united to God will bring you to a place where all you ask will be granted because when you are in full union with Him; everything that is in you comes from Him. When you are vitally united with Him, you’ll want what He wants. You’ll have in your heart what He has in His heart. Therefore, your prayers will be His prayers. And you can be sure He will answer every prayer that originates with Him. That just makes good sense! God would never initiate a prayer He does not intend to answer. The prayer that’s started in Him will be finished in Him.