Further Still

"Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” ​ ​ — Jesus in Matthew 26:39

Further Still

Further Still

"Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” ​ ​ Jesus in Matthew 26:39

Further Still

Further Still

"Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” ​ ​ Jesus in Matthew 26:39

Prayer Of Relinquishment

Take a few moments to transition into this section of the retreat. It might be a good time to pause and listen to Etu Finau’s first set of worship music on the Music and More​ page. Especially as he sings, “I Surrender All.”

When you are settled, begin with this reflection from author Emilie Griffin:

“Cling to the One who holds eternity in His hand. This is the one intimacy of which we need not be afraid, for it will not disappoint or betray us. On God we can loose all the intensity of who we are, all the passion and the longing we feel. This is the one surrender we can make in utter trust, knowing that we can rest our whole weight there and nothing will give way.”

As we surrender ourselves to God’s care in the wilderness, we often become aware of things we need to let go of, attachments that are in need of being released, places where we are grasping things too tightly.

 

There may be a sense of clearing out or letting go of what doesn’t belong in order to find what does.

 

What might God be inviting you to release in order to make room for something else, the offering of new gifts or new life?

 

A helpful prayer in this process is the Prayer of Relinquishment. As we learn to relinquish, to let go, we allow our clenched fists to be opened so we might offer up our freshly yielded hearts to God.

A Prayer of Relinquishment


Today, O Lord, I yield myself to you.

May your will be my delight today.

May your way have perfect sway in me.

May your love be the pattern of my living.

I surrender to you

my hopes,

my dreams,

my ambitions.

Do with them what you will, when you will, as you will.

I place into your loving care

my family,

my friends,

my future.

Care for them with a care that I can never give.

I release into your hands

my need to control,

my craving for status,

my fear of obscurity.

Eradicate the evil, purify the good, and establish your

kingdom on earth.

For Jesus’ sake,

Amen.

 

Richard Foster

To engage even further in the practice of relinquishment, I would invite you to close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and think of something you find yourself holding onto that God may be inviting you to surrender. It may be something you care deeply about but seems to be slipping from your grasp. It might be a relationship, an opportunity, a gift, an area of freedom or control. It might be status or part of your surface identity that you have become fond of. It could be almost anything at all. Ask God for the grace to become aware of what you are gripping or grasping.

 

 

[pause]

 

 

Once you’ve identified this something, clench your fists as tight as you can as if you are grasping and gripping whatever came to mind. Feel what it feels like to try to hold on tightly to it, to feel the pressure of squeezing tightly.

 

 

[pause]

 

 

Hear Jesus’ invitation to let go: “Come to me … and I will give you rest.”

 

Now open your hands, palms up and let your fingers extend as a gesture of both offering what matters to you and receiving something else. Our open palms become a symbolic posture of surrender, opening ourselves to the possibility that God might want to exchange whatever was in our hands for something as yet unseen.

 

“When you dare to let go and surrender your fears, your hand relaxes and your palms spread out in a gesture of receiving.”​ ​ — Henri Nouwen

 

 

[pause]

 

 

Relax and rest in the presence of God as you reflect upon these words from Jesus. Perhaps breathe them as a breath prayer for this moment:

 

 

 

"Father, into your hands I commit my spirit."

 

 

 

Reflect for a moment. How did you respond to this experience? Did you discover anything that’s become important to you? Spend some time journaling about this.

Let’s end this retreat with words from two people who learned the posture of complete surrender.

Jim Elliot was one of five Christian missionaries slain by the indigenous people group he was trying to reach in Ecuador on January 8, 1956. His wife Elisabeth returned to Ecuador after Jim’s death and spent two years sharing the love of Christ with the tribe members who killed her husband. A few years before he died, Jim wrote in his journal words that are quoted often today: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”

Elisabeth lived for another 59 years after losing her beloved Jim. She wrote many books and traveled the world, sharing her wisdom and experience into her 70s. Her understanding of surrender is instructive for us today:

 

 

“Can we give up all for the love of God? When the surrender of ourselves seems too much to ask, it is first of all because our thoughts about God Himself are paltry. We have not really seen Him. We have hardly tested Him at all and learned how good He is. In our blindness we approach Him with suspicious reserve. We ask how much of our fun He intends to spoil, how much He will demand from us, how high is the price we must pay before He is placated.

 

“If we had the least notion of His lovingkindness and tender mercy, His fatherly care for His poor children, His generosity, His beautiful plans for us; if we knew how patiently He waits for our turning to Him, how gently He means to lead us to green pastures and still waters,​ how carefully He is preparing a place for us, how ceaselessly He is ordering and ordaining and engineering His Master plan for our good–if we had any inkling of all this, could we be reluctant to let go of our smashed dandelions or whatever we clutch so fiercely in our sweaty little hands?”

 

 

Reflect for a moment.If you could have a conversation with Jim and Elisabeth Elliot today, what would you ask them? What wisdom do you think they would offer you for navigating this season?

We invite you to visit the Music and More page​ and engage with a video interview with Young Life Trustee, Terry Looper.​ In his thirties, Terry was drawn into a desert through an episode of disabling burnout. That desert lasted four years, and in it the Lord taught him the posture and practice of surrender that has become the daily practice of his life today. As you listen to the interview, don’t simply listen to Terry. Listen to the Lord. What is He saying to you through Terry’s experience in the desert?

 

End this retreat by thanking God for what He has revealed to you during this time together. Take time to transition gently back into your engagement with activity and with others.

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