“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
In John 15:5, Jesus says, “Apart from me you can do nothing.” So we really are paralyzed. Without Christ, we are capable of no good. As Paul says in Romans 7:18, “Nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh.” But according to John 15:5, God intends for us to do something good — namely, bear fruit. So as our strong and reliable friend — “I have called you friends” (John 15:15) — he promises to do for us what we can’t do for ourselves. How then do we glorify him? Jesus gives the answer in John 15:7: “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” We pray! We ask God to do for us through Christ what we can’t do for ourselves — bear fruit. Verse 8 gives the result: “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit.”
So how is God glorified by prayer? Prayer is the open admission that without Christ we can do nothing. And prayer is the turning away from ourselves to God in the confidence that he will provide the help we need.