The Prayer of Surrender – Part 5 – Learning About Prayer

Like most people, as I grow in understanding prayer, there are still so many questions, especially this one, “Why are some sincere prayers from the heart granted, while others are not?”

There is one way of praying that says, “I’m tired of asking. I’m beaten, finished. God, You decide what You want for me.

This was how I felt in the late spring of 1980, about something I had been praying about for a couple of years. My prayer of surrender was letting go of my desire to find the wife God had planned for me to love and join with, long before I was born. After a year and a half friendship with a young lady from our church in Kitchener, it became clear that, although we loved Jesus in common, we did not have the same love for each other, or the same thoughts on God’s will for us, or hopes for our future. That relationship ended well, although somewhat sadly. This young lady met another young man soon after, and they became missionaries overseas for some time.

I then met another young lady, while still praying for God’s will of a life partner. After a couple of dates, that came to an end, knowing she was not the one God had planned for me.

Hilda Asked God For the Man of His Choosing

All during this time, my darling Hilda, was going through much the same, asking God for the man of His choosing. She wanted someone who would love her deeply and would share life together with Jesus at the centre. Hilda had met a young man at her church in Toronto, but after going steady for almost two years, that relationship ended. She was very sad for some time, but trusted that God would bring her the man of her dreams. (I was the blessed one, and she was the young lady of my dreams too!).

All that to say this… it took a Prayer of Surrender, to let go of “our will” for a life partner. We had to reach a point of allowing God to answer prayers His way. God wanted us to leave this decision with Him. He needed us to take our controlling hands out of this. Before leaving home to go to Toronto, I told the Lord that I had decided never to get married. I would stop looking for a partner. Within a week, I had met Hilda. The Lord must have been smiling in Heaven at my lack of trust and patience, but so pleased that I had finally surrendered this situation over to Him. Now He was free to do a miracle, bringing me to Toronto where I would meet Hilda.

When We Are Ready to Surrender to God, He is Free to Do What is Best For Us

Have you ever come to a point in life, where your prayer for __________________________ does not seem as if it will ever come to pass?

Perhaps God is trying to teach you and I something important about prayer. I’m still learning that a demanding spirit, with self-will as its rudder, blocks prayer. God absolutely refuses to violate our free will. Unless self-will is voluntarily given up, God cannot move to answer prayer.

Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, before He was crucified and died, is a pattern for the Prayer of Surrender. You see, Jesus had a choice about whether to go through the agony and pain of the torturous trial and the painful death on the cross. He could have avoided the cross, by not going up to Jerusalem where His enemies were waiting for Him. He could have appeased Judas by setting up an early Kingdom. Pilate wanted to release Him, and hoped He would say the right words to let Pilate do so. Even in the garden, Jesus had time and opportunity to flee.

Instead, Jesus used His free will to turn the decision over to His Father. Jesus prayed, “Dear Father… all things are possible to You. Let Me not have to drink this cup! Yet, it’s not what I want but what You want” (Mark 14:36). The prayer was not answered as the human Jesus wished, yet the results of His death on the cross have brought forgiveness of sins and eternal life to countless millions of otherwise helpless people, since that decision.

With surrender to His Father’s will, Jesus was trusting whatever His loving Father knew was best. Hilda and I might have thought our previous relationships were for our best, but it was only when we surrendered our free will to God’s will, that we discovered He had a much, much better future in mind for us than we could have imagined. (smiling here, and thanking God – YAY GOD!)

That is the same for our lives on earth right now. We often try so hard to make things happen for ourselves, rather than surrendering our situations to God’s plans for us. I still have a hard time with this. Like when thinking and praying for our son, Daniel. I want so much for him to enjoy a beautiful marriage relationship, like Hilda and I have, with God’s choice of young lady for him. Hilda and I had so much joy and blessing spending our lives together, and I’m so excited to know she is waiting for me to re-unite with her again someday. That type of special relationship is something I pray Daniel will also enjoy. I just have to trust God with it, and not attempt to help God figure it out.

God’s Word Comforts Us

This is not easy when the life of someone dear hangs in the balance. Every emotion is tied up in the dread of what might happen. That is what I went through during Hilda’s last couple of days. I was praying for her healing, along with some friends and family. But, I needed to surrender her life into God’s hands. Thankfully, the comfort of God’s promises in the Bible assured me that she would be with the Lord in Heaven, and I would be with her again someday.

Sometimes the prayer of surrender is gloriously answered as was the case when Hilda and I were brought together as husband and wife by God. It required each of us to surrender our self-will to Him. Sometimes that prayer seems like it’s not answered as we wish. Missing Hilda is sooo hard for me these days, but realizing she is completely healed, joyful, young, alive and free in Heaven with Jesus, living in her mansion prepared for her by Jesus, makes it the best answer to prayer God could ever have given me.

Likewise, Jesus did surrender to His Father’s will, and suffered so very greatly for it. He did it because He loved the Father, and knew it was God’s plan. Leaving the decision in His Father’s hands was definitely best for Him and for humanity in the end. Jesus restored the ability of sinful people to have a relationship with God here today, and throughout eternity. Jesus’ obedience to His Father’s will resulted in His Father giving Him the authority and power to rule over His Heavenly Kingdom forever. Psalm 2 beautifully shares about the Father giving Jesus, His Son, the right to rule over the world.

Hebrews 2:12 tells us that Jesus knew that His surrender to God’s will was for our good. It was part of God’s perfect plan for Jesus to die on our behalf, and it would ultimately bring Jesus great joy knowing that He had rescued us… “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Sometimes the gift of faith is given to us through a verse in the Bible which leaps out from the page and sets our heart on fire. That happened several times for me after Hilda passed on into Heaven. The Holy Spirit spoke to me through several verses with Jesus’ promise that I would be with Hilda again someday for eternity. Sometimes God will also give us a promise through a dream or vision, which gives us comfort and hope, once we have surrendered our will to His. Surrender and faith are not contradictory.

Lord, we can always hold onto these truths from Your Word. These promises from You are forever trustworthy:

That You are there. You said “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

That You love me. You said “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” (Jeremiah 31:3).

That You alone know what is best for me. “For it is in Him (Jesus), and in Him alone, that men will find all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Colossians 2:3 – Phillips).

Father, for such a long time I have pleaded with You for this desire of my heart: ________________________. I confess to wanting control in this matter. I’ve tried suggesting to you ways in which this prayer could be answered. I know trying to manipulate You, even bargain with You, is foolish. I want to trust You, Father. Perhaps, all along, You have wanted me to give up self-effort. I want You in my life, more than I want __________________. By an act of my will, I surrender this to You. I accept Your will, whatever that may be. Amen

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