Wouldn’t it be grand to get a prize when we conquer our own moods and sins and struggles? Today, I’m learning anew about the Prayer of Relinquishment. This is the type of praying that moves us from the struggle into the release. For me, it often follows the Prayer of Intercession or Prayer of Lament.
After the struggle, facing the battle and seeing the raw realities of our current situations, we have choices… Those split second moments when we talk to ourselves about others…about our situation…about ourselves…about our God. Do you believe everything you say at those moments? 😉
It’s worth it to go through lamenting times and times of intercessions, because on the other side of the Prayer of Relinquishment we can find a soul-satisfying rest. It is there we can say with the Psalmist, “Surely I have composed and quieted my soul; Like a weaned child rests against his mother, My soul is like a weaned child within me.” A child that is weaned is not grasping or desperate, but is safe and at peace.
Jesus modeled the Prayer of Relinquishment in the Garden of Gethsemane. What a struggle he fought…and won! We, too can conquer the desire to bypass trouble and pain, avoid rejection and and overwhelming sorrow for a higher good.
“Not my will but yours be done.” Luke 22:39-46 captures Jesus’ words, but think about *how* He said them. What a wonder! He was yielded to God, but he was not resigned, nor bitter, nor defeated. It’s similar to how we say, “Whatever.” It can be stated with a tone showing we really don’t care OR it can be stated resolutely because we care deeply. Jesus models the more excellent way. And, it’s better than any medal available on earth!
The Scriptures are replete with great examples of people yielding to God at the end of struggling with themselves. While praying in the midst of great trauma, they also demonstrate great faith. If you want to be inspired, find these stories again and reflect on any parallels you see in your story.
– Abraham and his son Isaac
– Moses deliverer of Israel
– David and his son by Bathsheba
– Mary, mother of Jesus
– Paul’s “thorn in the flesh”
The circumstances differ, and it takes practice, but the result of yielding to God in this way is embracing a freedom like no other.
Author Richard Foster reminds us that “this dialogue with God is a letting go, but it is a release with hope. It results in a deeper relationship with God and includes training in righteousness, transforming power, new joys.” A prayer of relinquishment protects us from idolatry, as we so quickly get attached to our people, our things, our positions, our places, our health, our opinions and so much more.
How we need God to help us let go of our tiny vision to release the greater good He has in store for us! In place of what is lost, the release of our will gives us freedom from self-pity, self-absorption, self-deception, self-depreciation, self-indulgence, self-hatred and selfishness, in general.
Sometimes…ok…MANY times… the struggle is more than we can bear and we need real help wanting to go God’s way. In those times, ask people to pray for you, using Philippians 2. Praying through those verses yourself will help you align with the example Jesus provided.
At the end of this massive struggle, know that you can be strengthen, restored and revived. The war is on and the fight is worth it. More battles will be coming, but for now, embrace the Prayer of Relinquishment and find a rest for your weary soul.
“Don’t worry about what you will suffer…and you will be tested and made to suffer…But if you are faithful until you die, I will reward you with a glorious life.” Revelation 2:10
“Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19
I’d love to hear what you’ve experienced and what you think. I’m here and I’m listening. 🙂