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The Prayer of Relinquishment

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17 July 2015 by romanin

"Prayer" by Richard J Foster

“Prayer” by Richard J Foster

I’ve been reading this book by Richard J Foster.  The book talks about the many modes of prayer.  I say modes because it wold be naive to just think that there is only one type of prayer and that’s it.  We pray differently with different levels of maturity and through different situations.  Prayers of regret, sorrow, thanksgiving, joy, request, compunction, and the list goes on.

What moved me about today’s reading was the prayer of relinquishment, and a realization that Mr. foster shared regarding such a prayer.  He describes the prayer of relinquishment as the moment or season of giving up one’s own will for the better will of the father.  It is not an easy prayer.

What hit me was the arrogance that I must have in not fully submitting to this prayer.  I know that in my life there are still things that I have not given fully to God.  Why?  Perhaps I fear change, or I fear a “risk” of not being in “control”.  Perhaps I have a fear that God is not really there and not really going to take care of me the way he says.  Either way, the emotional reason is fear, and the rational reason is pride and arrogance that our will is good enough and right.  Foster writes this:

“…frequently we hold on so tightly to the good that we do know that we cannot receive the greater good that we do not know.”

And also:

“God is not destroying the will but transforming it so that over a process of time and experience we can freely will what God wills.”

Both magnificent truths are embodied in Christ’s prayer at Gethsemane.  He struggled and battled with this relinquishment to the point of sweating blood when he prayed “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” in Matthew 26:39 (ESV).

How arrogant must I be that I think I can control my own life by my own will when Jesus himself had to relinquish his own spotless will unto his father?  Yet, at the same time, I can also trust that Jesus understands my struggle when I grapple with letting go of my own will; he grappled to the point of sweating blood.

I will begin intentionally praying these prayers of release from my own will.  I will begin spending some time reflecting on who I want at the helm of my life.  Perhaps you’ll join me in this prayer?

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One thought on “The Prayer of Relinquishment

  1. Beverly Michalski says:

    Sounds like a great book to read. It has certainly gotten your attention. God uses so many people to get His message through to each one of us in the way He knows we will listen best to Him. Praying each Monday that God will bring someone into your lives during the week with whom you can share Jesus. May His Spirit help that person to understand His Love and accept Jesus as Savior in due time. Kiss the kiddies for me. Have a great start of of the 2015-16 school year.

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