Leaping into the life of Christ together. Living for Jesus and making him known.

Jan 1

The prayer of relinquishment


What happens when we ask and ask God for something which seems to be his will yet no change occurs. It might be a green light for a job or ministry. It might be healing for someone close you love or financial provision for a struggling family. Whatever it is our prayers seem to float off into space and appear to not reach heaven.

If we are to truly believe that God hears us and loves to answer prayer then a number of truths , also form scripture, need to be added to the mix. One of these is described by Catherine Marshall as the prayer of relinquishment. This is where finally the thing longed for, agonized over and prayed into many times is released from our grasp. It is like we are gripping onto the need for this thing to change in our lives so tightly we do not give God the freedom to work.

Our role in this case she discovered is to completely let go of the need to have this prayer answered. This is not abandoning hope or sliding into despair and self deceit. It is believing that God really can be trusted to do what is the very best. His will is perfect and full of love and wisdom and beauty.

In Italy Sophia Hawthorne watched as her eldest daughter deteriorated in health from a serious strain of malaria. Watching her slip away she noticed her husband had come to a place where he refused to hope any more as the pain of alternating emotions was too much for him. Sophia could not do this and her anger at God began to grow again. Why had he not answered her prayer?

The impending loss was bringing wave after wave of grief upon her body. Out of the blue she suddenly had a thought flash into her mind. “ Why should I doubt the goodness of God. Let him take Una, if he sees best. I can give her to Him. No, I won’t fight against him any more. ”

Expecting to feel crushed by this choice she was surprised by how light and happy she began to feel. Happier than she had felt for a long time.  She was at peace.

Only minutes later her daughter began to show signs of recovery. Over the next few months she was totally restored to full health. God had heard her prayers all along but was held back by a demanding angry spirit within that refused to trust the goodness of God deep down.

God is gracious and longs to fulfill his word but so often it is our refusal to trust in his goodness that blocks the answer from heaven.


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