I was listening to a couple of my grandchildren as a heated argument broke out. One of the mama’s instructed, “You need to say you’re sorry and will you forgive me!” What followed was fits of tears and the honest raw confession, “I don’t like to say I’m sorry! I don’t want to!”
Ah, surrender is hard.
At times we’re just like my little granddaughter. Fists clenched, teeth set, internally saying, “I don’t want to surrender!”
I came across an Anglican prayer this week from the “Southwell Litany.” It is so profound that I’ve been meditating on it all week: “Preserve me from all harms and hindrances of offensive manners and self-assertion… from overwhelming love of our own ideas and blindness to the value of others… from all jealousy… from retort of irritation and the taunt of sarcasm… from all arrogance in dealings with all men… Chiefly, O Lord, we pray Thee, give us knowledge of thee, to see Thee in all Thy works… to hear and know Thy call.”
The words of this simple prayer echo the words of Jesus, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).
Surrender is the key to discipleship. In other words, you can’t follow Jesus and not be willing to surrender. The call to follow Him is a call to die and be reborn in Him. It’s so contrary to our human nature. We think we know best. We believe our opinions are right. We feel justified in our irritation and think ourselves clever when using sarcasm. But Jesus calls us to daily – moment by moment – surrender to His ways. This is only possible through the power of the Holy Spirit. And so we pray…
Holy Spirit, fill me and take away the urge of selfish ambition. Oh Lord, I so often idolize my own ideas and visions. It can be hard for me to see the views of others as having value. Protect me from believing that my opinions alone are “correct.” Open my eyes to the value of others. Fill me with the love that You have for others. Guard my heart from jealousy when others rise up and I am brought low. Give me the mindset of Jesus, who took the form of a bondservant, I pray (Philippians 2:5).
Holy Spirit, protect me from becoming easily irritated or sarcastic in my response to others. Lord, Your Word teaches that love is not easily angered or irritated (1 Corinthians 13:5). Ah, Lord God, I am so very human. In the midst of the inconvenience of the pandemic, I find that I am easily frustrated and irritated. Fill me with the patience that comes only from You. Remind me often that You desire to change me from the inside out. You want to resurrect the life of Christ in me.
Holy Spirit, awaken my heart to know You more. Lord, take me deeper in knowing and trusting You. Your ways are not my ways. Your thoughts and plans are far above mine. So often Lord God, I don’t understand your ways and, in those moments, I am tempted to raise my fist as if I know what’s best for those I love and myself. Teach me instead to bow in humility before You, recognizing that You alone are God. I can trust You even when I don’t understand because my faith rests in Your unchanging character. Form within me a rock-solid, steady, strong faith that can sustain the winds of chaos. Above all else, teach me to love You more so that I can say with certainty, Your will, not mine, be done!
Friend, I don’t know what trials you are facing this week. I just know that many of us are facing life circumstances that we never envisioned. Together, let’s ask the Holy Spirit to strengthen our surrender muscle and give us the grace to walk the path before us.