by André Regnier
In these blog posts, we’ve been working through some basics for personal daily prayer, using the “PRAY” model: praise, repent, ask, and yield.
We spent time in worship, acknowledging who God is. This realization of who God is brought us into acknowledging our weaknesses and failures, giving them over to God, and rejoicing knowing that His mercy is abundant. Standing before God we confidently asked for grace and blessing to be given to others. We have now come to the final pillar, where we need to “Yield”. Here, all the focus is back on you. What does this yielding mean, and where do we begin?
1. Yielding begins by realizing that God can be trusted.
This is foundational if we are going to be able to give God any control of our lives. Giving God control of our lives sounds scary and intimidating. Think of the trust game where we are asked to stand on a chair, close our eyes and cross our arms… and with reckless abandon, we fall back. If we do not feel that the people catching us can be trusted, it will be very difficult to fall freely.
Early on in my spiritual life I thought that if I got too close to God that he would pull the rug under me, as if God and I were in some sort of wrestling match. I wanted to be able to get close, but not too close… I was afraid that he would force me to be someone that I am not. But don’t get too freaked out; God won’t pull the rug out from under you. Almost 30 years after my conversion, I can truthfully say that I am still the same Andre – but I believe I am a better version of myself.
God’s ways are best for us. In Jeremiah 29:11 he says, “I know well the plans I have for you.” It is good to trust God, because he really wants the very best for us.
2. We have to yield our heart to him.
Once we realize that God can be trusted, we need to make a conscious choice – a decision – to give our lives to God. We can see this from the relationships diagram used in the Ultimate Relationship booklet and Discovery study. The relationship with God is compared with a romance between two people. In the first image, someone doesn’t have love in their lives. In the second image, someone has a relationship with someone else, but it’s not at the centre of their life. But in the third picture, the relationship is at the centre – and it makes all the difference in the world. When two people decide get married, they have to make a conscious decision to do this.
I invite you to pray the prayer that we have in the UR, as an act of yielding to God.
Father, I believe that you know me and love me. I have not always chosen to love you, and have broken my relationship with you through my sins. Thank you for sending your Son Jesus who proved your love for me on the cross.
Lord Jesus, I open the door of my heart and I invite you to be at the centre of my life – to be my Saviour and my Lord. Direct me by your Holy Spirit and help me to live the Gospel with my whole life.
3. Take it one step at a time.
Choose one aspect of your life, and work on that. In the third image from the Ultimate Relationship, the call is to orient every aspect of our life around Christ. These parts of our life include things like money, relationships, sexuality – what we believe we’re supposed to do with our lives – we tackle all of these one of them at a time. We do this by wrestling with God, and gradually coming to the place where we can offer things to him – to surrender. We ask him for help as we do so: “How do I do this? Please help me. Please guide me.” Yielding will be a life-long journey. If you want, you can personalize the prayer from the UR, mentioning specific parts of your heart that you want to open up to God’s love and mercy.
After worship, repenting, and praying for others, now it begins to focus in on you. In our prayers, we’re reflecting on our own lives, on where we’re at, and on the areas we struggle with. This is the area of prayer where we wrestle with decisions, and ask the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom. This is the time of prayer when you might sit and listen, allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart, to give you the grace and wisdom that you need. Often what becomes a good friend here is Scripture – this is the part of your prayer time when you might read through some passage of Scripture, allowing God to apply it to your life. For example, you could return to the Psalm of the day, as you did in your time of praise. Or look at verses such as Psalm 37:5, which says “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will act” (NRSV).
When Angèle and I were asked to move from Saskatoon to Ottawa to begin CCO work here, this was a very difficult decision for us. A passage that impressed itself on us was Jesus’ words about giving up family, friends and everything else for the sake of the Kingdom (see Luke 14:25-33). This passage confirmed in us that we were doing what we were supposed to be doing. It gave us courage. The interesting thing is that the day my son was leaving to spend 10 months in Australia to do campus ministry, he had the same passage placed on his heart, again confirming that he was doing the right thing.
There have been other times when I was finding it really difficult to respond to something that God wanted me to respond to, and as I read the Scripture, I would run into passages that talked about courage: “Do not be afraid” is a common phrase in the Bible (see Joshua 1:9 for one example). All these passages, the Lord was confirming this in me, leading me to give certain aspects of my life over to him.
In yielding to God, repentance is a very close friend. The two are related, in that in both we’re constantly admitting to God that we need help. But yielding isn’t primarily about bad things we’ve done in the past that we feel on our consciences; it’s about our plans and dreams for the future, about allowing God to form us into the sort of people who won’t sin, but will want to follow him with all our hearts.
This is an area of prayer that you’ll want to spend more time on as you grow into it, but 5-10 minutes is a good place to start.
Thanks for reading this set of blog posts! I hope it’s proven useful.