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The book is selling prayers for prodigals, and many other books on prayer provides weekly biblical insight to help you learn to love to pray. And now, here's James. I give up. You give up? What exactly are you giving up? You said we're going to be talking about surrender today, so you know, I just thought I'd start by surrendering.
Very funny, Robert. But yes, yes, that is our topic, so we're going to talk about what it means to surrender to God and what prayer has to do with that. It's a really important topic for us to cover because there's a lot of misunderstanding and misinformation about what it really means to surrender to God. For example, have you ever heard someone say that they were fully surrendered to God? Oh, I've heard it. Yeah, and to be honest, I think that's a very difficult thing to say because my experience in life has been, as soon as I think I'm surrendered in one area, shows me another where I have so much room to grow. Oh, that is right, man.
I know. I'm speaking for myself, of course, but seriously, that's what the Holy Spirit does in us. He's always wanting to draw us closer to Jesus, always showing us actions, and oh man, even this morning, thoughts and attitudes that we need to turn and turn over to him.
Yeah, it's that continually turning to him. I heard a great talk from Andrew Brunson the other day, and Andrew, you may remember, is the missionary from our denomination, the EPC, who was falsely accused and imprisoned for two years in Turkey, and that time was really trying for him. As you can imagine, often he was in solitary confinement, sometimes for his own protection in this primarily Muslim country where there were dangerous factions, and he wrestled with a lot of things.
And one of his greatest struggles was that as a missionary and as a pastor as a missionary, he had often felt God's presence with him, and he loved that. But when he was in prison, he didn't as much, and Andrew is a really honest guy. He's very upfront about what he was going through, and it was as if he was being tested to see if he would be faithful, and he had a number of fears in that period, understandably about his future. He was looking at sentences that could last for years, so he would spend possibly the rest of his life in prison there.
Yeah, I remember some of his story from the national news, and actually President Trump was able to secure his release, right? Right, and Andrew prayed for him at that news conference, and one of the things I love about Andrew's story is that, again, he's so open about the challenges he faced and his interior struggles, and he knew that the fear that he was up against every day wasn't from God, and so he had to surrender himself again and again to be free of it. I love the way he explained this. He said that he'd have to start over with it each day, giving it to God, giving himself to God, and as he did, his burden would gradually lift, and by the evening he'd be okay, but the next morning it would start all over again. And, you know, I think the way that he explains that is helpful for understanding what surrendering to God really is, and how praying helps us with that. We really do have to give ourselves to God each day, every day, really honestly, maybe even several times a day. Yeah, that makes sense, because if we try to stay close to God, we're going to be mindful of how easily we can drift away, and how much we need his help in the moment just to stay close. Yeah, that's how it is with me, and I find that the best way to stay close is to surrender myself to God first thing in the morning, even before I get out of bed. You know, it's one of those times of the day when I seem to hear God best, and I can think the most clearly because the house is quiet, there are fewer distractions, so on a good morning, what I like to do before my feet even hit the floor is pray, Lord, I'm Yours, I give this day to You, help me to be Your servant in it, help me to surrender myself to You, and show me any areas where I'm not, and as I lie there for a bit and try to be just quiet before Him, you know, I pray about those areas where I particularly struggle, and I give them to Him again, and give myself to Him in them, and I just, you know, again, surrender, and it helps, it helps. But, like Andrew, again, I find I have to do this every day, and, you know, again, sometimes more than once. Yeah, I find myself there every morning, just like Andrew did, right?
Like, here we go again. And recently, I was struggling with that word surrender, and what it meant for me, I like to go look at the Hebrew of something, and immediately saw, as I said, that it's not in the King James Version of the Bible, so I started to think, how does, what does surrender look like in the Old Testament? And I started to think about, you know, falling into someone's hands. And so I went to look at passages, and all of a sudden I came across the 31st Psalm, and said, into thy hands I commit my spirit. And as I started to do that, literally, this week, as I was surrendering, you know, into your, and it was what Jesus did, obviously, there, those last words of the cross. What a wonderful thing, and I realize it's even actually kind of a one-stop shop, because when you go into Jesus' hands, you get his blood at the same time. And as I experienced that in those moments, the first moments of prayer in the morning, like you're talking about, that first connection to get into those hands is, I really like that. I like to be in his hands. Yeah, I love that.
I love that. Because one of the things that's so important is to point out, this is something we want. We can be so strong-willed, it's like, I don't want to do that, but if we're not surrendered to God, we won't find the happiness that he longs to give us.
And part of that, you know, just staying close to him, clinging to him, is that we need his help to do this, but there's this joy that comes from it. And so, you know, the truth is, if we find ourselves struggling against God, we're miserable. Oh yeah, I mean, that's absolutely the case.
I mean, we might know it, yet, you know, if we don't know it, we soon will. That's so true. We need to think clearly about this, because unless we understand that surrender is a day-to-day thing, we can get discouraged and think we'll never get there. Oh, it's so true. And after the initial decision to receive Jesus, really, you know, you've got to take up that cross every day.
Yeah, yeah. And if we look at the way this looks when we pray, again, it's praying things consistently, like, I love you, Lord, and a great prayer in the moment, I'm yours, Lord, like we were talking about earlier. You know, whenever you're in a circumstance where you could be tempted or fearful or distracted, like you said, it's falling into his hands. Yeah, that's such an important point. I mean, we're either functioning in our strength or in his, and the only way to really live on this new level is by saying, you know, my strength isn't enough, Lord, I need to surrender to get yours right now and move me through it. That's it.
Ravi, I love it. Could you wrap up our time by asking God to just help us all with this? You can hear more from Pastor James by visiting his website, jamesbanks.org, or by visiting Peace Church in Durham, North Carolina. May God bless you and encourage you as you pray.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-21 14:11:39 / 2023-01-21 14:15:20 / 4