I’ve wanted to write this post for quite some time, but I knew I couldn’t do it unless I took my own advice. When I started this blog, I compiled a list of topics I hoped to write about. Most were about what God has been doing in my life or about lessons He has taught me.
One of those lessons was to pray about everything. If God puts it on your heart, pray about it. You may not want to, but it’s worth it.
Throughout the New Testament we are instructed to pray about everything. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:6)”
Whatever we are facing, God wants us to pray about it. “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. (James 5:13)”
When we don’t know what to do, God says to pray about it. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. (James 1:5)”
God answers prayers. Many times, I have prayed “God show me what to do,” only to wish I could run the other direction when He made it clear to me. Sometimes, it is when we do know what God wants us to do that it becomes hardest to pray. I’ve found that sometimes, rather than asking God to show me what to do, I’ve needed to ask Him for the strength to do that which I did not want to do. I’ve often found myself avoiding what I knew God wanted. I used to wonder how Jonah could ignore God’s voice or how he could even think of running the other direction. It’s not hard to imagine now.
At first, when God put India on my heart, I didn’t want to pray about it. I didn’t even want to think about it. I didn’t want to allow any room for the possibility that God might tell me to “Go.” Just as Jonah discovered, ignoring God or running the other direction doesn’t solve the problem. When I finally asked God what He wanted, He showed me the way to go. India wasn’t what I had planned and certainly not what I had hoped for. But, when I surrendered my will to God and began taking steps in the right direction, He gave me the courage I needed. I was filled with peace. “The peace of God that transcends all understanding (Philippians 4:7)” filled my heart and mind. I was no longer afraid. In fact, my desires came into alignment with God’s plans. Instead of being afraid or disappointed, I could hardly contain my joy and excitement. When I finally surrendered my will to God’s I felt more freedom than ever before. I felt peace and overwhelming joy. I thought then, that I had learned my lesson.
More recently, I felt God leading me to give up something very precious to me. I held on tightly, not wanting to acknowledge the choice I knew I would have to make. For a time, I was able to push thoughts of surrender aside. Soon, I could bear it no longer. I poured out my heart to God. As I prayed, His leading was evident. I caught myself complaining to God “It’s too hard, I can’t do it”; a futile argument, I knew. Even as I prayed those words I was reminded that Jesus went to the cross for me. It was hard, He didn’t want to, but because He loved me, He went to the cross for me. As He prayed in Gethsemane, He sought any other option, but He knew He didn’t have one. When I prayed the other night, I knew I only had one option. I finally surrendered my will to God. Instead of praying for a way out, I began praying for the strength and courage I needed. God was again faithful, as He always is. He gave me the strength I needed to face what was ahead.
I surrendered my will and my hopes. Instead of clinging to the things I wanted or loved, I am learning to cling to God. After surrendering to God, there was nothing else to cling to. When we surrender to God, we are not admitting defeat. Instead we are allowing God to fight for us. In surrendering, there is freedom; instead of loss, there is victory.
As I came to the realization of the freedom surrender brings, I was again filled with peace and joy. A short time after I surrendered my will completely to God, I had the opportunity to discuss 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 with one of my AWANA girls. “Pray without ceasing,
in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” God’s timing is so perfect. The verse was the reminder I needed.
Whatever God puts in our path is meant for our good. He wants us to take everything to Him and to focus solely on Him. Whatever we may be facing, it is a part of God’s plan for our lives. We may not like it at the time, but it is meant for our good. God has out best interests in mind; we just have to trust Him. “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)”