I want to know the love of God in depth, having the ministry of the Spirit active in my life, where the unmeasurable love of Christ is dwelling in my heart, and I become free to live out from this place of trust and love, turning my face towards God and not away from him. I want to discern the realities of my soul, my inner world, being in tune with how I am operating, if with peace, having an internal rest and settledness in God, or living with distress, in agitation, being preoccupied with self and having anxiety. These feelings are directly connect to who is at the center of my life, who am I living ultimately for, who is my source of love, security, and purpose, and the answer can only be God or myself. !
Prayer: - Holy Spirit, come in and bring Jesus to the center of my life again. I want to fall in love with you in a deeper way Jesus. I want to know you, see you, live in you and from you, for you and through you. Take your place in the center of my life. I am yours Lord. You are mine! I confess that I feel an inadequacy when it comes to intimacy. Somehow I default to works, being busy with service and people. It is hard for me to just
be and to receive love and receive from you. I can give, I can sing, I can pray, I can talk, but I confess that the receiving part is difficult for me. Often I feel that when I speak or teach, I do so from learned knowledge and not so much experiential knowledge. Jesus, I want to know you experientially and walk with you in such a tangible way, with growing awareness of your presence and discerning your will.
Surrender is taking up our cross daily.
Our daily cross is the place where we die and resurrect in union with Jesus. I want to take up my cross and welcome God’s transformative ways and no longer navigate through life with my own efforts, needing affirmation and recognition, wanting to be a part of big things and getting burdened by my own expectations and interpretations of what others would expect of me.
Prayer: Jesus, Oh how I need this death and resurrection that you require of your followers. I pray, Spirit of God, that you would come deeper into my soul and show me the desires that are out of order in my heart. Sanctify my life and my motives, oh Lord! May I please you in my living! I cast out all my burdens and all that I have carried that have taken away the joy in serving you and brought dryness into my life and relationships. Restore your life in me and bring me to a place of resurrection.!
I will end with mentioning an invitation of Jesus found in Matthew 11:28 - 29 that has come back to me over and over these days. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry.!
Prayer: Jesus, I picture you in front of me, addressing me, looking into my eyes, saying these words with arms opened and a soft voice that assures my insides that you are trust worthy. I bring to you all the things that have become burdensome to me, my preoccupation with family, pressures in ministry, dynamics in relationships, and questions regarding the future. I bring all of these things to your feet Jesus and refuse to continue to flirt with ways of escape and to operate out of a sense of obligation, without joy.!
As I sat in stillness before the Lord, being aware of his presence with me, a question came to mind: Anna, where do you see yourself? My answer to his question came as a surprise to me for I saw myself outside the circle of Trinitarian fellowship. Then I saw Jesus coming and grabbing my hand. I saw his back and his arm as he reached and took my hand and brought me in. I came as I was and stood before the Lord, with my head feeling a bit scrambled and insecure, and I said: - Jesus, I desire you. I heard him say to me: - and I desire you. As I sat there I began to hear the words joy and strength. I want to know the joy of the Lord and have Jesus strength and live a life of continuous surrender to my loving God.
Surrender facilitates my presence in the Trinitarian fellowship as I am found in their love and embrace. This love wins me over and I become motivated to respond by choosing God’s will instead of mine, following his ways and living loved and free to be loving. !
My prayer: Jesus, I want to participate in your union with the Father in a way that I have not yet entered in. I pray, Spirit of God, that you would open my eyes to see who I am and what I am a part of in this communion with the Godhead. Jesus, give me a greater revelation of you being in my place and I being in yours. The word says you are not ashamed to be calling me your sister. I do not yet know how to relate to this truth. I want to cry out Abba Father from within, with an overwhelming recognition of your unconditional and sacrificial love. I want to hear the Father call my name, say that I am his delight.!
Surrender is having no other loves before God.
The importance of being aware and examining our hearts daily to recognize if there is anything keeping me from living in this union with God, something that is competing with the love of God and my willingness to follow him and his ways. Personally, I recognize that I easily give in to pressures from my work and ministry, from needs in my family and these pressures often become the priority of my attention and affections. I still find a pull within myself to please people and to put their needs in front of the place of God in my life, causing me to live out of my kingdom of self rather than the kingdom of God, responding to his presence.!
Prayer: - Jesus, I recognize I am blind to the embrace of the Father. I have moments where I taste of your presence and I know that deep inside, my heart’s allegiance is towards you. Yet, I find other loves drawing my attention and I am caught up in activities that take me away from your embrace. I distract myself often to not face you and after a while I find myself in agony and in need of you. I pray, break in Spirit of God, and set me free, so I may know you, know my Father, know Jesus, my older brother, and know you, Holy Spirit, and receive your help to become free as your daughter. Father, forgive me for missing you, for missing the moments and the longings for intimacy that you wanted to share with me. Forgive me for compartmentalizing my relationship with you, separating work from pleasure. Free me of my own expectations, where I act with willfulness, out of duty and obligation, and not with willingness, with love and desire for you. Deliver me from my stubbornness and create in me a clean heart and a new disposition, willing to discover your love and will.
Surrendering is aligning ourselves with the heart and will of God.
My understanding of surrender has to do with the relational outcome of my union with Father, Son and Spirit as I grow in awareness of their presence, in love and trust, receiving revelation of who I am in Jesus, sharing in his life, experiencing being loved unconditionally which motivates me to willingly consent to being aligned to the will of God. The understanding that God is always present and that I am the one who is often unaware of this reality in my day to day activities. I confess I am more aware of God’s presence in times of worship, when reading the Word and I still face the reality of how much I am in control of my life and how my choices are still serving self instead of God.
God’s will is always loving and always after my transformation into becoming what I was created to be. God’s will is the reflection of the character of the Father, the Son and the Spirit, their love, purposes, dreams, not only for my life, but for all of humanity and the world. As I willingly consent to doing the will of God everyday, in all my circumstances, I learn to discern his ways and grow in awareness of his presence thus becoming more and more motivated to choose love in all my actions.
Surrender begins with understanding of the One we are surrendering to.
It is so important that we get our Gospel right, that we know the story of God and who our God really is. We come to Christ with so much baggage, life experiences and we often carry pain, mistrust and voices of influence that shape our view of God and hinder our receptivity to his love. We can project ourselves and our experiences unto the face of God thus diminishing his reality, his power and place in our lives. God is so much more than we could ever imagine. God is always good and in him there is no evil.
My prayer: - Jesus, I recognize you are so much more than just my savior who died on the cross for me. You are the maker of the universe, you are the living Word who became flesh and in you all things are held together. Jesus, everything that I am is yours. I surrender all my life and the right to my life. I want to lay all at your feet, all the burdens of being me, being a daughter, a sister, an auntie, a niece, a cousin, a friend, a servant, a leader, a visionary, a preacher, a teacher, an influencer. I often recognize how much striving is involved in living out these roles in my life and how I operate from my kingdom of self, instead of relating to others from the outflow of my living interactions with you.
(More thoughts on surrender will follow)