Tuesday, February 21, 2012

THE PRAYER OF RELINQUISHMENT by Catherine Marshall

When I first began active experimentation with prayer, I was full of questions such as: why are some agonizingly sincere prayers granted, while others are not? Today I still have questions. Mysteries about prayer are always ahead of knowledge– luring, beckoning onto further experimentation. But one thing I do know; I learned it through hard experience. It’s a way of prayer that has resulted consistently in a glorious answer because each time, power beyond human reckoning has been released. This is the prayer of relinquishment. I got my first glimpse of it in 1943. I had then been ill for six months with a widespread lung infection, and a bevy of specialists seemed unable to help. Persistent prayer, using all the faith I could muster, had resulted in – nothing. One afternoon, a pamphlet was put in my hands. It was the story of a missionary who had been invalid for eight years. Constantly, she had prayed that God would make her well, so that she might do His work. Finally, worn out with futile petition, she prayed, “All right, I give up. If You want me to be an invalid, that’s Your business. I want You even more than I want health. You decide.” Within two weeks, the woman was out of bed, completely well. This made no sense to me, yet I could not forget the story. On the morning of September 14 – how can I ever forget the date? I came to the same point of abject acceptance. “I’m tired of asking,” was the burden of my prayer. “I’m beaten, finished. God, You decide what You want for me.” Tears flowed. I felt no faith as I understood faith, expected nothing. And the result? It was as if I had touched a button that opened windows in heaven; as if some dynamo of heavenly power began flowing, flowing. Within a few hours, I had experienced the presence of the Living Christ in a way that wiped away all doubt and revolutionized my life. From that moment, my recovery began. Through this incident, God was trying to teach me something important about prayer. Gradually, I saw that a demanding spirit, with self-will as its rudder, blocks prayer. I understood that the reason for this is that God absolutely refuses to violate our free will; unless self-will is voluntarily given up, even God cannot move to answer prayer.


Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane is this pattern for us. Christ could have avoided the Cross. He did not have to go up to Jerusalem the last time. He could have compromised with the priests, bargained with Caiaphas. He could have capitalized on His following and appeased Judas by setting up the beginning of an earthly Kingdom. Pilate wanted to release Him, all but begged Him to say the right words that would let him do so. Even in the Garden on the night of the betrayal, He had plenty of time and opportunity to flee. Instead, Christ used His free will to turn the decision over to His Father. “Dear Father… all things are possible to You. Let me not have to drink this cup! Yet it is not what I want, but what You want.” The prayer was not answered as the human Jesus wished. Yet power has been flowing from His Cross ever since. Even at the moment when Christ was bowing to the possibility of an awful death by crucifixion, He never forgot either the presence or the power of God.There is a crucial difference here between acceptance and resignation. There is no resignation in the prayer of relinquishment. Resignation says, “This is my situation, and I resign myself and settle down to it.” Resignation lies down in the dust of a godless universe and steels itself for the worst. Acceptance says, “True, this is my situation at the moment. I’ll look unblinkingly at the reality of it. But, I’ll also open up my hands to accept willingly whatever a loving Father sends.” Thus acceptance never slams the door on hope. Yet, even while it hopes, our relinquishment must be the real thing – and this giving up of self will is the hardest thing we human beings are ever called to do.It’s good to remember that not even the Master Shepherd can lead if the sheep do not follow Him. That’s the why of Christ’s insistence of a very practical obedience: "And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" Obey… obedience … trust… is all over the Gospels. The pliability of an obedient heart must be complete from the set of our wills right on through our actions. So we take the first hard steps of obedience. And lo, as we stop hiding our eyes, force ourselves to walk up to the fear and look it full in the face – never forgetting that God and His power are still the supreme reality – the fear evaporates. Drastic? Yes. But it is one sure way of releasing prayer power into human affairs. In the prayer of faith, our hand is still in His. Our heart is still obedient. But now, He has led us out of the frightening darkness, with only the pressure of His hand to reassure us, into the sunlight. We look into the face beside us with a thrill of recognition – the hand of the Father is Jesus’ hand! All along, our heart told us it was so. Relinquishment? Faith? Just daring to trust Jesus.Father, for such a long time I have pleaded before You this, the deep desire of my heart:_______. Yet, the more I have clamored for Your help with this, the more remote You have seemed. I confess my demanding spirit in this matter. I've tried suggesting to You ways my prayer could be answered. To my shame, I have even bargained with You. Yet I know that trying to manipulate the Lord of the Universe is utter foolishness. I want to trust You, Father. My spirit knows that these verities are forever trustworthy even when I feel nothing. That You are there... That You love me...That You alone know what is best for me... Perhaps all along, You have been waiting for me to give up self-effort. At last, I want You in my life even more than I want ________. So now, by an act of my will, I relinquish this to You. I will accept Your will, whatever that may be. Thank You for counting this act of my will as a decision of the real person even when my emotions protest. I ask You to hold me true to this decision. To You, Lord God, who alone are worthy of worship, I bend the knee with thanksgiving that this too will work together for my good. I relinquish this to You. Amen.

9 comments:

  1. THE PRAYERS FOR HEALING
    AND OF RELINQUISHMENT
    GO HAND IN HAND.
    BOTH ARE EQUALLY
    IMPORTANT TO GOD.

    © Miriam Jacob

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  2. I had just read a reprint of Catherine Marshall's article in Guideposts magazine. Thank you for including the prayer at the end of your post. God bless.

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    1. God bless you, Claudia. May Christ's glory be revealed in your life. Amen.

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  3. I have been praying for a baby that was born almost 6 mths ago, he was a twin. They were born very early but he had serious medical issues that caused this to happen. His brother is at home, battling somethings but this baby has had no medical reason to be alive. I got my prayer group praying. They have never come together for anyone like they did this baby and family. The suffering this baby fought with was beyond comprehension. But we were demanding he make it. Every victory, turned into terrible set backs. I was praying Monday night, my usual prayer about healing him, my heart was struggling though. I then said, Lord, hear what my heart is trying to say. Then I found myself praying not my will God, but yours, have your complete will be done in his life. I left it there. The prayer group was a on line prayer group. This lady was really struggling with this baby suffering so. We all were demanding he make it. She then said to me, I was the one that brought this child and family to them. I posted the updates everyday and was in contact with the mother. We loved this family and still do. So this lady said all I know to do is pray the relinquishing prayer. Please have their pastor explain it to them. I had no idea what that prayer was. So I go to look it up and I see Catherine Marshall's name right away. I got books from a yard sale, many years ago. The first one I read was, A MAN Called Peter. About Peter Marshall of course. I did not know who he was, I didn't but that old yellow paged paper that was tearing up down, until i was finished. I don't remember what book I read about Catherine Marshall, but it was about her personal life as well as some of her ministry. She didn't have an easy life. I came from a Petacostal Church back ground. I heard later on after reading these books, many things about miracles and her great faith. I am 57 and been in horrible pain since I was 20, disabled at 21 yrs. Born again Christian since I was 26 yrs. I have battled with other people's opinions of my faith because of my disability. Never did I think I had a lack of faith, God had spoken to me very early on and I knew. But I was considered, by a quote, a pillar of the church, But my disability, stopped me from going and still after 20 yrs. I am talked about and treated horrible and was lied about by my pastor. I was a drug addict and I know how Job felt. I read this about prayer of relinquishment. Why had I not heard this before! It so is in God's timing, I decided when the mother of this baby told me yesterday about 12:25am that he was worse. I told her what I personally knew of Catherine Marshall and said I want to send you this link, it is lengthy, but read it when you can, it is worth the read. The night before when I prayed God's will be done. I saw her say we are not ready to give up, he has fought so hard. Well 2 1/2 hrs later giving her the prayer, she is writing we are spending our last moments with our baby, he has suffered enough. Please pray his passing and crossing over to God will be peaceful, we don't want him to struggle anymore. My heart was heavy and I cried, but my tears were not for this precious baby. I knew how I loved this baby and family that I hadn't even met. So I know how much they had to be hurting. But she said, he is finally at peace. I know if I hadn't read the relinquishing prayer, I wouldn't have been so calm as I was. It was meant for this baby, yes. But you have no idea what this has meant to me. I know I have not grasp a hold of it completely. This has all,happened very quickly. I have read it again twice, each time a little slower with less emotion going on. I know that I will read it again and it is going to have a great impact on my life.

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    1. Sandra, the prayer of relinquishment will have a tremendous effect on your faith life. It will bring God's anointed power into your heart. I am praying for you.

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  4. Thank you, I am just know seeing your comment. I am sharing it with yet another Christian that I think needs to read it. Thank you for your prayer. I had so many that asked me to send it to them. I talk to some of them and it helped them very much. I know it was God that after all these years, new I needed to read this prayer. Again thank you.

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    1. I am so grateful that this awesome prayer has blessed you and others in such a glorious way. May God bless you, Sandra!

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  5. This is the prayer that delivered me from cigarettes.

    I'd prayed and tried to quit on my own for a couple of years. Then one day my mother came over with a book by Catherine Marshall and told me about a wonderful prayer of faith.

    So that evening I prayed the prayer in the book. I had half a pack of cigarettes lying on an end table. I usually smoked one before I went to bed but didn't want one that night. But I didn't really know what I had prayed because I remember thinking that when I finished that pack, I wouldn't buy another to see if the prayer had worked.

    That half a pack of cigarettes lay on the table for a week before I threw them away. I never desired another cigarette. So this really is a powerful prayer.

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    1. Thank you for letting me know this. May this glorious prayer continue to deliver you in all the ways you need deliverance. Power flows from the cross of Christ!

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