As I work my way through the book A Praying Life by Paul Miller with a group of young, faithful women, I was once again struck by how clearly the author presents deep truths about prayer. For instance, one of the women in the Bible study commented that she was very moved by the concept of how prayer consists of a balancing act between “asking boldly” and “surrendering completely.” (p. 132)
I cannot agree more with my young friend. I believe achieving such balance is the key to prayer.
Jesus, Himself, illustrates this truth in His prayer at the Garden before He was taken by the guards to be led unto His final days walking on this earth. In the midst of His agony, He called on His Beloved Dad…
“Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
Mark 14: 36
The essence of prayer is contained within this profoundly simple statement. Jesus asked boldly…even though He knew it would not be granted…for His Father, His Daddy, to take away the bitterly cruel cup he was about to partake. He didn’t doubt His Father’s power to remove such burden from His shoulders. Jesus perfectly and firmly knew, trusted, believed God’s ability to just say the word and make the whole thing stop…but He also knew the plan…and the plan involved His Holy and Perfect sacrifice. Even though, His humanity was revealed on the feelings He experienced on that fateful night and in His bold prayer, Jesus’ complete trust on the wisdom and righteousness of God’s divine plan was demonstrated in His surrender…”yet not what I will, but what you will…”
This morning, after a restless night sleep, tossing and turning, troubled by concerns regarding my older son, Grant, I remembered all these we discussed at our Bible study meeting…and it hit me…
…when I pray for my most desperate needs, I may pray boldly…but I lack surrender…
This has been the story of my prayer life. I am not afraid to pray for the supernatural to happen. I do not doubt My Heavenly Father’s power to make all things possible. I believe Jesus when He says, ask anything in my name and it will be given to you. (John 14: 13) But I struggle surrendering to His ultimate, final and perfect will. I want the prayers to be answered my way. I want the answer to be what I requested in the way and timing that I petitioned. I don’t really want my answers to be conformed to God’s will, because I am afraid God’s will, may not be my will.
This morning, as I worried sick about Grant, God called me on it. He made me realize my lack of surrender. He pointed out how I want to solve all the issues on my own. He showed me how I want to engineer the outcomes of my son’s issues by my own power and wisdom (both of which are extremely limited at best). And I was convicted.
Immediately, I said to my Lord, “Grant belongs to You. You love Him. And You will take care of Him. No matter what I think, Your will is perfect, and I ask You to teach me how to accept it. I ask You to teach me how to be the Mother that my sons need me to be. I ask You to teach me how to do my part, and my part alone. And I ask You to teach me how and when to let go.”
I know that I may fret again…but I also know that He will remind me, again, and again, to surrender my concerns to Him in my prayer so I don’t panic if the answers are not what I had wished for.
I want to boldly surrender to God’s plan for me and to trust His Love, His Nature, His Mercy and His infinite wisdom as He leads my loved ones and I into His presence and into the “story God has placed us in.”