There are several ways we could define yielding. The following three terms—to relinquish, to submit, and to offer—I think will give us a good definition and understanding of yielding, particularly as we study it in the context of yielding to God in prayer.
Yielding means to relinquish. To summarize from Catherine Marshall’s book, Adventures in Prayer, when we relinquish ourselves to God we are giving up our self-will, we are giving up a “demanding spirit,” and we are seeking no more to do things our way but His way. Thus to relinquish is to accept willingly whatever He sends us, even whatever He demands of us; it is doing whatever He says, and it is going wherever He leads us. But we do not go alone. The life of relinquishment is not lonely or does not give up hope. It is full of hope! For when we relinquish all to God we put our hand in His and He leads us. Hence, the life of relinquishment is being always with Him, being comforted always at His side.
Yielding means to submit. To submit means to go along with, to be at peace with (Job 22:21). It means not to be stiff-necked as the children of Israel were: who, by their stubbornness, found themselves in desolation, given up by God to the slavery of their sins (2 Chron. 30:7, 8). Hence, it means to be softhearted toward the Lord, willing to serve the Lord always. Submitting to God also implies that we resist all opposing forces—thus to resist the devil and all the forces of evil (Ja. 4:7).
Yielding means to offer up. This term tells us that in yielding there is an offering to make, thus a price to pay, or a sacrifice to make.
In Old Testament times animals were brought to an altar and were sacrificed to atone for sins. But now, since Christ has provided Himself as a sacrifice for our sins (His blood was shed for the sins of the world for all time), animal sacrifices are no longer needed. What God requires of us now is to present to Him ourselves as a living sacrifice—a sacrifice of willing service (Rom. 12:1). Thus when we yield ourselves to Him, we bring ourselves to Him and present ourselves to be willing and faithful servants.
When we offer ourselves (or yield ourselves) to Him we are giving over to Him all the members of our body to be instruments of righteousness (Rom. 6:13). The incredible thing about this is that the more we yield the members of our body to Him to be instruments of righteousness, the more He empowers us to actually be righteous—that is, holy and acceptable (Rom. 6:19; 12:11). Yes, all we have to do is be willing to yield ourselves to Him, and then He puts His holiness into us.
When we offer our bodies to Him for service, we also, in our service, offer our talents, our time, and our prayers. And these acts of service, because we are yielded to Him, will ascend to Him as a pleasing aroma.
This post is a excerpt from Basic of Prayer.