Teach Me to Pray: Bold and Surrender

“Lord, let this conference be the first step for me in publishing this book. If this is not the plan, give me comfort in the no.” For months prior to my first writer’s conference, I prayed these words. Bold prayer is not my fortè. I squirmed each time I repeated this desire.

After the conference, the Holy Spirit convicted me: I had been praying wrong.

I boldly requested God to start moving me down a path to publication. But in the next breath, I revealed to Him my true heart: I didn’t think he would.

Bold prayers require two beliefs: God can and God will.

Scripture gives us a beautiful example of a seemingly impossible prayer request in Joshua 10:“On the day the LORD gave the Israelites victory over the Amorites, Joshua prayed to the LORD in front of all the people of Israel. He said, ‘Let the sun stand still over Gibeon, and the moon over the valley of Aijalon.’ So the sun stood still and the moon stayed in place until the nation of Israel had defeated its enemies” (12-13). 

Joshua prayed for the sun to stand still. What a crazy request! God told Joshua He would give them victory. The Israelites had an advantage and nightfall soon threatened. In order to keep their advantage, Joshua prayed these words. He knew God could and He believed God would.

And God commanded the sun to stand still until the Israelites defeated their enemies.

Sometimes, we have prayers filled with disbelief. The words may be right, but our heart doesn’t really believe God can or will answer. Perhaps we don’t feel our desire is “good enough” to present to our Heavenly Father. Why would He listen to my prayer to publish a book when there is so much suffering in the world? It can seem . . . selfish.

In her Bible study “Opening Your Heart: Walking With Purpose,” Lisa Brenninkmeyer states:

“God wants our prayers to be filled with the faith that we believe the impossible can happen, because when we tame them we are saying that God isn’t all that powerful, or that He doesn’t really care about our dreams and our needs. This kind of attitude saddens His heart. He wants us to bring our most audacious hopes and passions and our deepest hurts and disappointments and confidently ask for His power to pour out, for the miracles to come.” (p. 44, my emphasis)

Friend, God cares deeply for you. He created you with a purpose. He knows the desires and passions in your heart. Approach Him confidently, knowing not only that He can answer them but believing He will.

Surrender is a new component of my prayer life. Jesus modeled both bold prayer and surrender in the Garden of Gethsemane: “Abba, Father,” he cried out, “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine. (Mark 14:36)

Jesus knew the indescribable pain he would soon be enduring. He boldly prayed for God to change the plan. Ultimately, however, Jesus wanted God’s will to be done. He surrendered.

Surrender differs from disbelief.

Disbelief says, “You can’t do this God.”

Surrender says, “I know you can, Lord. I recognize Your plan is so much bigger than anything my narrow vision can see. You are sovereign. You are good. Not my will, Father, but Yours.”

Pray big. Pray bold. Pray surrender.

To God be the glory,


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