Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word” Luke 1:38 (NRSV).
Mary gave such a beautiful example of surrendering prayer. We remember it in a special way as we prepare to celebrate the coming of Jesus Christ. Yes. Mary’s prayer is integral to Advent and the Christmas story.
Mary’s words are easy for us to say; easy to read. However, they’re not so easy to say with utmost sincerity. After all, we like to think that we are in charge of all situations.
Don’t you find that with yourself? The need for control shows itself in different ways, but generally you want to know what is going to happen when, how and with whom and not be herded along mindlessly. In the worst care scenario, you try to exert control over others so that they do what you want and you limit their movements. Like I said, worst case scenario, though it happens too often, many times subtly.
The thing is, though, you may take this desire or need for control into your relationship with God. When you do this, you either consciously or subconsciously tell God what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. Contrast that with Mary.
Mary’s world was about to be turned upside down. At this point in her conversation with the angel she did not have any knowledge of how Joseph would react and what he would do. She wasn’t prepared for the angel’s news. She wasn’t prepared to be anybody’s mother, especially the “Son of the Most High.” Yet,you find her uttering words of surrendering prayer. And so we celebrate, while being mindful of the challenge inherent in following her example.
The challenge of surrendering prayer
“According to your word . . ” One challenge of surrendering prayer is being still long enough to actually hear God’s word of direction to you. This is especially so at Christmastime, especially (ironically) if you’re active in church. This stillness is both external and internal. If you’re busy rushing from place to place all the time it will be harder to hear God’s word to you. If you don’t take the time to quiet your spirit it will be harder for you to hear God’s word to you. Yes. surrendered praying thrives better with a quieted body and spirit.
The other challenge of surrendering prayer is that God’s word to you might take you in a completely different direction. It might upset all your plans and put you in a place for which you feel that you are not prepared. What then? Sometimes it seems easier to run and hide behind the business so that you don’t have to tell God “no.” That’s when the peace in your life goes missing along with the joy and beauty of being one with God; the peace and joy and beauty you sing about so lustily at Christmas. Believe me, I’ve been there.
The bottom line with surrendering prayer
The thing is, though, that surrendering prayer comes back to your confidence in God. Step back. It actually comes down to your knowledge of God. Do you know God well enough to trust God? Then, it’s about relationship, isn’t it?
“According to your word . . .” And Christ came and so we celebrate Christmas. God has visibly extended love in the human form of Jesus Christ. What better gift than to give God than to return that love by lifting your heart in surrendering prayer and saying with Mary, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word?”
by Christian Rosetti
Experience God more fully through honest, surrendered heart praying and live with greater clarity and peace.
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