Acceptance, Surrender and a New Posture of Prayer

Acceptance surrender psalm 28:7 the lord is my strength and my shield

Last month I had coffee with my new friend Teresa. Her mom also has MS so we had much to share about our experiences growing up. We marveled how remarkable it is, despite all they have endured, both moms have remained extraordinarily joyful.

When Teresa asked how she does it, her mom said: “I stopped praying for God to take it away and started asking him to help me accept it.”

Acceptance. 

You may be familiar with this prayer:

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.

The courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

and the wisdom to know the difference.”

The definition of acceptance is The act of taking or receiving something offered.

Recently, my mom and I were listening to Charles Stanley preach on suffering. He said when we suffer, there are two responses. We either walk away from God or we run to God. I watched as she laid in her bed and nodded in agreement:

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”  {2 Corinthians 12:9-11}

My mom told me she clings to this because it is true and therefore she can actually give thanks for her suffering.  Give thanks. Clearly, her response has been to run towards God.

She gives thanks because she has accepted what life has given her and can trust God for all that she has and will receive in spite of it.

People have argued for centuries about whether or not suffering, illnesses and tragedies come from God. Maybe in midst of these arguments we’ve missed the entire point that it’s never just about the event or situation but everything cultivated through it and from it. God with us, helping us become who we already are.

I have much to learn about what it truly means to give thanks in all circumstances. There are things I desire and want to be different for me and my loved ones. My prayers are heavily focused on these.  I pray the same things over and over again.

There are situations laced in these prayers I cannot change. My prayers have become complaints and requests which are not bad in and of themselves. Even the repetition isn’t inherently bad. The problem is, I’ve become stuck in what hasn’t changed and my prayers haven’t moved past the point of complaint toward actual submissions surrendered to God. I’m going to the altar with all my baggage but not leaving any of it there. While I want God to help me accept the things I can’t change, what I’m longing for more is Him. I want to believe Psalm 28:7:

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.”

Lord help me accept what I can’t change and surrender all my desires around these things and trust You for all I can’t see just yet.

Surrender: to yield (something) to the possession or power of another; deliver up possession of on demand or under duress

I was not in a great place at the beginning of 2016. When it came time to choose a word, mine was “Whatever.”  I told my friend Janna who is an artist with a gift of creating beauty with words. She sent me a hand-lettered paper with the word, “whatever,”  and Proverbs 16:9:

“The heart of man plans his ways, but the Lord establishes his steps.” 

“Whatever,” was my negative, ticked off like a high schooler slamming doors response to  God asking me to live 2016 with “surrender.” The heart of my #oneword365 last year was meant to be surrender because God is continuously showing me how yielding to His power can, in fact, produce joy. Not a giving up attitude or complacency but authentic joy. Belief in the immeasurable greatness of his power produces a countenance reflecting the knowledge He is working in his great power as He did when He raised Jesus from the dead. The same power at work then is also at work now and in the future.

Lord, help my unbelief.

In 2017, I want to CREATE space to cultivate a practice of praying and living with complete confidence God is who He says He is. Faithful, true, all-powerful, all-knowing, sovereign over all things. I want to pray out of the depths of my heart with confidence God hears and is working on my behalf.

 

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