Epaphras Prayer Letter

The Fifth Sunday of Easter – John 15:1-8

Week of May 24, 2021 | Sunday: May 30, 2021

The Word of God—that is, Jesus Christ—is cleansing and abiding. That Word, Jesus Christ, cleanses you because it forgives your sins. That Word draws you in to abide in Jesus Christ because he now abides in you. The effectiveness of this Word at cleansing and abiding is promised by God’s declaration: “My Word does not return to me empty, but it accomplishes the purpose for which I sent it” (cf. Is. 55:11). That is a comforting Word, it makes us clean and gives us a place—abiding with Jesus. Jesus, however, delivers another Word more sinister to our ears, “…every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit” (Jn. 15:2). Whether you are branch of the vine that bears fruit or doesn’t bear fruit, you get pruned… cut away… trimmed up…. Now the pruning of non-fruit-bearing branches can be welcome among the other branches. It gets rid of dead wood prone to disease and subject to insect infestation. But the pruning of fruit-producing branches is painful… inevitable, but painful. Even the good branches bearing good fruit get pruned by the vinedresser… get trimmed away by the Father. God is having his way with us… the potter molds the clay… the vinedresser prunes the branches… all to the glory of the Father as the branches become ever more fruitful.


Prayers from one who hates being pruned…


Father in heaven, you are the vinedresser, keep me as a clean branch abiding in Jesus the vine that I produce fruit abundantly to your glory. Amen


Father in heaven, you are the vinedresser, grant the comfort of receiving your Word… a Word which cleanses me… a Word which keeps in Jesus Christ and him in me… a Word that soothes the pain of constant pruning. Amen


Father in heaven, you are the vinedresser, make of me a blessed and fruitful branch even though I may never know the fruit I’ve borne. Amen


Father in heaven, you are the vinedresser, grant that the fruit I bear may be of useful service to my neighbors in their need for daily bread. Amen


Father in heaven, you are the vinedresser, keep me attentive to those offices and callings you have set me into that they may be the arenas of my fruit-bearing for the sake of my neighbors. Amen

Father in heaven, you are the vinedresser, you have set many into various offices for the Institute of Lutheran Theology, grant that they bear much fruit in their attentiveness to their tasks so many will benefit from the Institute’s work. Amen


Father in heaven, you are the vinedresser, during these days, the days of my baptism, prune away all my sin through confession and absolution that I might be returned again and again to the promises of my baptism. Amen

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