acceptance, comfort, communion with God, faith, God's love, God's power, healing, honor, miracles, peace, relinquishment, strength, trust
There is power in relinquishing prayer. Power and peace. When we’ve prayed all we know to pray and the answer we want just doesn’t come, there is one more prayer to pray: “Father, Thy will be done.” And that is the prayer of relinquishment.
Catherine Marshall’s experience with this is one of the most memorable for me. She had been sick for six months with a lung infection that kept her bedfast. Medical treatment was not working. She had exhausted every approach to prayer she knew and nothing happened. So she said to God that if He wanted her sick and to spend the rest of her life in bed, then she would accept it. But with that prayer of relinquishment to God’s will came heavenly power and her recovery began.
Pastor David Cross of my church, First Assembly Memphis, tells of his being on a treatment table to receive radiation for a golf ball size cancer on his neck. As he waited, he prayed. Actually, he worshiped. For Pastor David didn’t petition God but said “Even if you don’t heal me, you are still my Jehovah Rapha, the God who heals.” He unconditionally relinquished his self-will to God’s will and at that very moment he knew healing had happened. He felt his neck and the tumor was gone. “I’ve been healed!” Pastor David cried out. “Yes, you certainly have,” declared the Radiation Therapist with tears in her eyes.
I had my own experience with relinquishing prayer when I thought my daughter was dying. For years, I had pleaded with God to heal her of health problems that had stolen so much from her. Then one day, her body began to shut down. In my car, headed toward the other end of the state and not knowing if she would be alive when I got to her, I gave it all to God. I told Him I was through pleading for her health and if it was His will to take her, I accepted that will completely. It was my relinquishing prayer. Immediately, peace poured over me—and she did not die.
When we can get to the place of total relinquishment, we honor God. We stop questioning. We cease struggling. We simply step away from all attempts to control what we never could control anyway. We believe in God’s love for us however He decides to give it. We accept His will. Sometimes relinquishing prayer brings exactly what we prayed for. Other times, we don’t get the answer, but we do get peace. My child lived, but she still has health problems; yet the complete peace God gave me in 2012 has solidly remained.
When we desperately want something, it is hard to relinquish. Most of us pray for long seasons of time for things we are desperate to have. Our prayers are at first relentless, not relinquishing. But when we can finally reach the place of giving unanswered prayer to God, we will know peace that only God can give. And with that peace is the power to accept whatever is the will of God.
Jesus prayed in Luke 22:42 Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done” (NIV). May we do no less.
My first response, Pat, was a resounding “yes”. Yet, after thinking about it for some minutes I’m a teeny bit more cautious. There are times when we need to hold on to a promise of God – although even then relinquishment is somehow built into our prayers. I’ve got to the conclusion that relinquishment, or any other attitude in prayer, must be at the direction of the Holy Spirit. And that always, as you intimated, the danger is that we might pray the relinquishment prayer as a perverse way to get what we want anyway. I think that’s why, for me, I must be sure the Holy Spirit is directing me to do this. Thank you for this post. It’s an important message and valid. And has made me think about something I’m asking God for.
Pat Luffman Rowland said:
I wholeheartedly agree with you, Zillah, that we have to know when it is right to give up asking. We must listen to the Holy Spirit. As far as someone relinquishing to get what they want–they haven’t really relinquished, have they? It is an attempt to manipulate God, which we cannot do. He knows when we truly give it over to Him and for me, when peace floods my soul, then I know I did the right thing. I still pray for my daughter;s health, but it isn’t with desperation or fear, as it once was.The Holy Spirit worked in me that day to truly give it all up to a loving God who always knows what is best for us. If we don’t get that peace, then I think we don’t stop fervent praying. Love you, my friend, and value your input.
I’m so glad you had, and still have, that peace flooding your soul. And it’s the assurance of having done the right thing isn’t it? It’s interesting that you say that if we don’t get that peace we shouldn’t give up on fervent praying. That’s a way of putting it I’d not thought of before. And that fervent praying should also result in peace, shouldn’t it? Peace in the awareness that God has heard us and will act. I appreciate your ‘ponderings’ so much.
Pat, I’m very familiar with Catherine’s healing as I read every book she wrote, and some of them several times; also belong to Breakthrough Intercessors. I try to do what she did, but I’m afraid I “take it back” sometimes when it gets really bad. If I keep trying, maybe one day I will want His will more than I want to be well, CONSISTENTLY. Very good, and I am so glad you have peace about your daughter, though it naturally hurts when our children suffer.
Pat Luffman Rowland said:
Ernestine, I understand “taking it back.” Believe me, I did that over and over before I finally was able to give over completely my daughter to God’s will. I think the Holy Spirit helps us to relinquish when it is time and if you don’t find lasting peace with what you give to Him, then I think you should continue praying fervently. As I said to Zillah above, I still pray for Kristi’s health but not with the desperation and fear I once did. I have peace now that what is best for my child, God knows and will see through. My daughter has a close relationship with the Lord and that is a tremendous blessing to this mother. That is another thing that makes me able to leave her in God’s loving hands. I love your comments. I know how spiritually strong you are and I value what you have to say. As Bobby Schuller says, “God loves you and so do I.”
Reblogged this on Praying for the millennials.
Pastor Steve Gaines says he is committed to God’s will (and his life proves that) but he prays every day for healing. I’m sure if God told him to stop it, he would. To my knowledge, God has never told me to stop praying for anything but I always trust Him with the final decision. Dr. Rogers used to say “God’s will for us is what we would want for ourselves if we had sense enough.” How true, but how hard sometimes! That’s where faith comes in as in “If you can’t see His hand, trust His heart” I think is what it says.
Pat Luffman Rowland said:
Respect both of those fine men, Ernestine. And I love the quote and the song.