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December 16, 2017

The Practice of Prayer


How can we move forward with this Prayer of Relinquishment? Foster tells us that the best approach is to surrender our will moment by moment as we "face the ordinary decisions of home, family, and job." He says we will not know the "shape of relinquishment until specific issues arise." The practice of surrender prepares us to make sacrifices when the time comes. Its like everything else, we keep doing it until it becomes second nature. Moment by moment we redefine our walk with Christ so that living sacrificially becomes our new normal.

Foster gives us five practical prayers we can interpret into our individual experiences. First is the "prayer of self-emptying." Wait on the Lord, ask him to help you empty your decision, your day, or even the next 15 minutes of self. This takes practice to ask, listen and then obey. Second, learn the "prayer of surrender." Like Jesus in the garden, this is a struggle. Learn to ask for the father's will and not your own. Ask the Lord to help you truly release your own will in your heart and mind. Third is the "prayer of abandonment." This is a decision to put your situation fully in the Lord's hands. Thank him ahead of time for what he will do through your abandonment and trust. Put yourself in a place of readiness, watching and waiting to act on whatever he will do with your life. Fourth, "learn the prayer of release." release to the Lord your spouse, children, friends, and other situations. Give him your hopes and dreams. Let go of your struggling and striving to make things happen and be in control. Let your tight grip on things you care about loosen as you hand them over to God. Fifth, "learn the prayer of resurrection." Be willing to let God resurrect what he chooses of the things you have released to him. Be willing to let some things die, even the things you thought were good things. Let him be the one who brings new life into your life.

These are not easy prayers, but we will get there through daily practice. Foster says "Relinquishment takes us into rugged terrain." We have to work up to the task, but the journey with Christ is always worth it.