Finding Peace through Prayer.
Prayer is one way of communicating with God. We see it modeled throughout all of scripture. I often reference the book of Psalms to find comfort by reading prayers written by others. Even Jesus modeled prayer for us; as you read the gospels, there are many instances where Jesus is talking with the Father.
If you're someone actively engaging in knowing the God of Scripture, you're most likely praying. You might come asking for things like peace this holiday season, patience in dealing with children, doing well at work, wisdom to know how to interact with a specific person, and the list goes on. You also might come crying out to God because you're confused or don't like what you have going on in life.
The Lord wants to hear these types of prayers from us. Philippians 4:6-7 reminds us of that. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Yet, when our prayer life consists of just those things, we're missing a big part of how we find peace amidst our wants, needs and lack thereof. It involves the element of surrender. A surrendered heart before our Father God is a key part of finding peace. Surrender involves submitting to the authority of the Lord. Surrendering our thoughts, minds, wills, emotions and the desires of our hearts before the Lord is an active process we can engage in with the Lord through prayer. It involves a releasing of control – an unclenching of a metaphorical tightened fist.
Here's how to do it:
1. Spend some time in prayer and make a list of all the things you really want. Don't judge yourself for the things you're going to write down! It's easy for us to not want to be honest in this process. If we're not honest, then we won't be able to rightly surrender.
2. Actively remind yourself of who the God of Scripture is, paying particular attention to these character traits:
-He is sovereign (Romans 11:36). Everything that happens derives from God's will – He is in control.
-He is love (1 John 4:8). Even when things don’t feel loving to us, He does nothing that is not out of love because He is love.
-He cares for me (1 Peter 5:7).
-He is trustworthy/faithful (Lamentations 3:22-23). Since He is in control and He is also loving and caring, you can, therefore, entrust “your stuff” to him. This is really important because this is where your heart will find a releasing of control. What you love and hold on to so dearly, you release it into the trusting care of your heavenly Father.
3. Sit alone in a quiet place. In that place, intentionally and actively quiet your heart and mind. Take a few deep breaths and just be still. *Be forewarned!* This can be hard for a lot of us! Our culture today does not promote stillness, silence and rest! But, I promise you can do it!! When you find your heart slowing down and resting a bit, go through and verbalize your list to the Lord with an attitude of surrendering those things to Him. Sometimes I even visualize Jesus before me and I see myself going to Him, laying down my wants, dreams, desires, heart, and emotions at His feet.
Spend some time here telling the Lord that you are trying to trust Him. Then walk away from all your surrendering and actively seek to trust the Lord knowing that He has it in control and will watch over it as you go about your day.
When you find that anxious feeling creeping in, just do another short version of Steps 1-3 wherever you are.
Be encouraged! I find myself doing small and long versions of this multiple times a day! We like control and grapple with it in many ways, all the time. In this journey of surrendering as you go throughout your day today, join me, won't you?