Yielding to God isn’t always easy. It takes discipline and practice. Here are three things we can practice that will help us yield to Him.
Practice praise and worship. When we yield ourselves to God, one of the parts of our self that we yield to Him is our lips—in order to praise Him. Hebrews 13:15 says, “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess His name.” Here we understand that the fruit of our lips is praise to God.
In Isaiah 57:19, God says to us through Isaiah, “I create the fruit of the lips.” Thus, God makes it possible for us and helps us to praise Him. Even when we’re sad and in mourning, He puts words of praise and thanks on our lips so that we don’t even have to think about what to say to Him—God gives us the words and the songs.
Our part is to offer our praise as part of our humble yielding. We offer it as a peace offering to God for His love and friendship; God creates the fruit of praise in us, but we must pick the fruit and offer it back to Him as a sign of our reciprocal love and friendship.
Our offering of praise doesn’t always come easy. The term sacrifice (in Heb. 13:15), in fact, indicates that it is hard. We can’t do it at all in our flesh. We must ask God to help us. Actually, we do it “through Jesus” who is our High Priest (Heb. 13:15). When we trust in Him, we will be made strong to offer up our lips to praise Him (Col. 3:15, 1 Thess. 5:16-18). And we will find, happily, that the more we are obedient to praise Him, the more He will produce in us the fruit of praise.
But our praises must come to God not only from our lips, in words, but from our entire being. In fact, unless it is from our entire being the praises from our lips are as a hypocrite—one who gives lip service. Let that never be. The only acceptable worship to God is to offer ourselves completely to Him. It is our “reasonable service” offered to God in thanks for all He has given us (Rom. 12:1).
Practice the “prayer of helplessness”. Catherine Marshall, in her book Adventures in Prayer, has a chapter entitled “The Prayer of Helplessness,” and also one entitled “The Prayer of Relinquishment.” Both of these chapters aided me in writing these last two sections.
Marshall made emphasis in her book that when we pray God insists on our helplessness. She made this emphasis because we in fact are helpless; that is, we can’t do anything for God in our own ability and true prayers must be based on truth. The Bible says in John 15:5 that “Without Him we can do nothing.” In Hebrews 1:3 we see that God upholds (or sustains) all things. Again, in Col. 1:17, it says that in Him all things consist (or literally, “hold together”). He created us and He sustains us. Without Him we would literally fall apart.
In John 6:44, Jesus said, “No one can come to Me unless the Father draws him.” We can’t even come to Him in prayer or believe in Him on our own. We are all, from our birth, enslaved to sin and unable to believe. But God in His mercy chose some for salvation. He selected certain ones and empowered them to come to Him. And so, those who come to salvation come only because they were empowered and drawn by God. Yes, we are totally helpless without Him. We are nothing and can do nothing without Him.
But by His strength we can do all things (Phil. 4:13). And His strength comes to me when I admit my weakness and helplessness (2 Cor. 12:9-10). And why is that? It is simply because our admission of helplessness is true. And when we face up to that fact and the fact that He alone can help us and answer our prayers, we glorify God. Then, when God is glorified in us He in turn honors us by giving us His strength and by answering our prayers.
Now the way you practice the prayer of helplessness is simply by reviewing in your prayers the fact of your helplessness—that you can do nothing without Him, not even submit to Him. Here is an example of a prayer of helplessness:
“O God, take my heart, for I cannot keep it; and when Thou hast it, keep it, for I cannot keep it for Thee; and save me in spite of myself.”
Practice the “prayer of relinquishment”. When we relinquish ourselves to God we give up our self-life, which includes the self-will. This self-life is a life of sin. It has nothing to do with our new Christ-like nature, which always seeks to please God. Rather, the self-life seeks only to please self, which, at its core is evil and destructive. It is built up or strengthened in us when we feed it and provide for it—when we invite into our mind all kinds of lustful thoughts, when we eat whatever we want and as much as we want, when we watch TV until we fall asleep at night; hence, basically when we indulge ourselves with whatever we desire.
When we practice relinquishment in prayer we give up our self-will, which means that we also give up our self-life. It is saying to God, “I give up everything to You, Father, in order to gain Christ.”
If you have been praying for a husband or a wife and God has not answered your prayer, you may be saying to God, “Father, I desire a mate, but let Your will be done. I want only what You want for me. If You think it is better for me to be single than that is what I want Too. I yield my will to Your will.”
Likewise, if you are in need of healing and you have been praying persistently to be healed, even sometimes demanding God, the practice of relinquishment means that you must begin to pray in this way: “Father, I give up my demanding spirit. If it is, for some reason, Your will for me to remain sick I now surrender my will to be healed. I give my life into Your hands for Your good purpose. Take my life and use it to please You. Whether sick or whole, use me for Your service.”
Therefore, the practice of relinquishment in prayer is giving up any demanding spirit, any self-will. It is acknowledging in prayer that all I have is His and that He has a right to take it back. It is saying to God, “You are Lord, I yield up all my desires to You. I worship You. I am at Your service this day and always. Take my life. I give it to You.