Listening and Surrender

“He continued all night in prayer to God” (John 6:12).

“Not my will but Yours be done” (John 22:42).

Listening Prayer – What sort of extended prayer would Jesus have engaged in before choosing the twelve apostles? As one whose passion was to do the Father’s will, would He not gladly spend the entire night listening for the Father’s voice and direction concerning the decisions He was about to make? Jesus’ example shows us that prayer is much more than asking God to bless our plans, rather it is the means of discovering His.

Surrendering Prayer—“Not My will, but Yours, be done” (22:42). “And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, ‘Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.’ Having said this, He breathed His last” (23:46). Just as the life of Jesus was characterized by surrender, so was His prayer. Passion leads to surrender to the object of one’s passion. For Jesus the surrender was to the Father and His will. His earthly life that began with the surrender of divine glory and prerogative ended with the surrender of His spirit into the care of the Father. “Not My will, but Yours be done,” is not a caveat that follows a bold prayer request, but an attitude of the heart that is the source of passion in prayer. Without the surrender of our wills to God, prayer becomes a narcissistic tool of self-passion hardly worthy to be called prayer.

–Adapted from Giving Ourselves to Prayer: An Acts 6:4 Primer for Ministry (Chapter 23, Jesus as a Role Model of Personal Passion in Prayer by Howard Baker).

Lord, my will is so weak!  When there are important decisions to make or people and situations that I should intercede for, I don’t always create the time to fall on my face before You.  Why does my agenda always seem so pressing and important that I neglect to surrender my will to Yours?  So often I try to fix something myself, or make a quick decision about something that needs Your attention instead.  Humble my heart, Lord, so that I might surrender to Your will alone!

Prayer Points

Praise God that you know who he is because you have Jesus Christ, “the image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15). Give thanks that “God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in [Christ], and through him to reconcile to himself all things . . . by making peace through his blood” (1:19-20). Confess the instances when you spurn the reconciliation that God has accomplished. Commit yourself to continuing in your faith, “established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel” (1:23). Ask that Christ will have first place in every part of your life, and that nothing else will rival him.

Pray that “Christ-less” individuals on your street or in your community will begin to feel a spiritual hunger for the Lord.

Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend.