Prayer and Surrender

Prayer & surrender is part of the process of connecting us to God.

The feeling of isolation and loneliness are a byproduct of a fallen world.

We were never meant to be along, as God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Gen 2:18 ESV

When the fall happened, Adam and Eve hid and we have been hiding ever since. Genesis 3:8 (ESV)

What holds us back from coming to God? Fear. As Adam said, I was afraid Gen 3:10 ESV.

While there are many reasons that people give for what has led them to hide from God, I want to note just two, the first is fear and the second is the illusion that we can hide from God.

From the perspective of fear. There is the fear of punishment or the fear of rejection or the fear of being found out.  All of these may be wrapped up in the reality guilt.

The other point that I note here is the illusion that we could possible hide from God.Disobedience/sin is the chief course of fear.  Sometimes fear might just be the results of a misconception about God and his ways. The good news is that we don’t have a God with a big stick who is waiting for us when we step out of line.

The father of the prodigal Son, Luke 11, is the example of a loving God, not a God with a bit stick…

The heart of Jesus expressed in Matthew 23:37 (ESV) “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!

Another part of this is that God has provided a way for us to not just an awareness of his presence and love but the means to enter into the fullness of it.

Andrew Murray said, The precious blood of Christ has opened the way for the believer into God’s presence, and intimacy with Him is a deep, spiritual reality. He who knows the full power of the blood is brought so near that he can always live in the immediate presence of God and in the enjoyment of the unspeakable blessings attached to it.  * (Andrew Murray, Practice the presence of God, 164)

However, at times we try in a vain attempt to hid.

But then I turn to Psalms 139:7-10 (ESV)

Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.

As I read these words I think of Jonah, who tried to run from God. The statement flashes before me that had been stated many times before, you can run but you cannot hide from God.

We might have been where Jonah had been and then in the dark moments of our running, we came to the end and prayed the prayer of Jonah.

“I called out to the Lord, out of my distress,
and he answered me;
out of the belly of Sheol I cried,
and you heard my voice.
Jonah 1:2 ESV

Or have we come to that place yet?

Then as he was rescued ending back on dry land we see those beautiful words of a second chance,  Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, Jonah 3:1 ESV.

I wonder if in some way, we have been hiding from God. That hiding might be holding out in some area of our life. Maybe hiding by being quiet about some aspect of our life that deep down we know is not pleasing to God.  We might have an issue that we are just not ready to talk about.  And in those issues, we have moved ourselves from the presence of God. Then we find ourselves crying out, God where are you? But in reality, it is God who has never stop calling out to us, like he said to Adam, where are you?

Can you hear those words from God calling out to you, where are you? You see God has not moved, he is not hiding from us.

Jeremiah 23:23-24 (NKJV) “Am I a God near at hand,” says the Lord, “And not a God afar off? 24 Can anyone hide himself in secret places, So I shall not see him?” says the Lord;

“Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the Lord.

Not only is God close by and not far from us. As Christians, as His children He is close to us and we are close to his heart.

Like to the old saying, he has our picture in his wallet.

Psalms 17:8 (ESV) Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings,

To have a depth in our praying requires a deep surrender to the will of God.  To hold both prayer and surrender together requires an awareness that God is close by, but deeper than that, He is all around us, God is omnipresence, he is everywhere, we can’t hide from Him. And from out of a heart that is surrendered to God, we need to open our eyes to the reality that not only is God close and everywhere, we are held in his loving hands

“fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 ESV

Can we feel any closer to God, well I would answer yes, as  Psalms 31: 20 says,  You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence.

I want to leave you with the words of one of my favorite hymns.

There is a place of quiet rest,
Near to the heart of God,
A place where sin cannot molest,
Near to the heart of God.

O Jesus, blest Redeemer,
Sent from the heart of God,
Hold us, who wait before Thee,
Near to the heart of God.

There is a place of comfort sweet,
Near to the heart of God,
A place where we our Savior meet,
Near to the heart of God.

There is a place of full release,
Near to the heart of God,
A place where all is joy and peace,
Near to the heart of God.

by Cleland B McAfee



Rex Rigby