Ep 107 Formation Through Surrendering
Surrendering Guide by Carlo Walth
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I'm Jamie Bahr and this is Unlocking Christian Spiritual Practices. Join me as we look at the practices that are essential for growing responsibility and expanding leadership in our families, churches and communities. In this segment, we will consider three practices that help us move toward an attitude of surrender, an attitude that we need in order to be formed by a friendship with Jesus. I really like to think of these three practices as a way of gaining a heightened awareness of our inner desire, through poetry, encounter and response with Jesus in an ordinary day.
It can be very convicting, really, to discover that we're not responding wholly to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It's like we could be leading this divided life where you speak the words, but you really are not living in the power of Jesus. Well, in surrendering, we might even say that we start with our ego, we realize our weakness, and then we discover we're truly broken. And this is where deep fellowship with the Holy Spirit can enter our lives with the incredible realization, and a definite consciousness that his friendship is real and his love is transformative. But first, there are several different kinds of surrender.
The one we want to focus on in this podcast is the kind that leads to genuine formation. So this is not a giving up type of surrender. But it's surrendering to a formation friendship that uniquely forms the soul by the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, really to become the character Of Christ. To develop the character of Christ, that's what this is about, that we might be image bearers of Christ in the world we live in every day. Dr. Carlo Walth in his Surrendering Guide states that this kind of surrender goes beyond the initial step of faith. You know, where you first have to trust Christ as your Savior. But this kind of surrender is different.
This goes beyond and it involves the joyful abiding, the here and now relationship with our indwelling Savior. So this really is a life altering union between you and Jesus, the one that's described in John 14:16, where I am the vine and you are the branch. So we are surrendering to an invitation for a lifelong friendship with Jesus. This includes the hard things in life. During this lockdown, I'm sure many of you are surrendering to a new future. Probably some of you have lost your jobs, unsure of what's going to be left when this is over with, but in many ways you become open to a new way of living when you surrender. It opens up also, a new way of experiencing God.
So we're going to talk about these three practices. One is a surrendering Prayer. The second one is a surrendering Posture. And the third is surrendering Flame. These three practices can be done separately, or they can be done in unison, all together, which I think is great. It's really wonderful. So when you surrender to a future with God, then you experience His goodness. And what this really means is that, of course, we need obedience in daily life. Each day when we get up, we make a decision to step on the path of daily life and continue on it even when we struggle or find ourselves not wanting to go this way. But of course we must.
So surrendering to the daily things that we have a fear of facing. It's going to be tough out there, especially as this COVID moves through our country, our cities, but it might cause you to even have a sense of sadness that preoccupies your mind. But really, it's in these daily moments where we find the wisdom and blessings of God. And sometimes it's far beyond what we ever could have imagined. So let's take a look at the first practice. And this practice is a prayer, verbally, going to say, the surrendering prayer. And this prayer comes from several scriptures that have been festooned.
Now, we talked about Festooning as a practice in the last podcast, but as a reminder, festooning is a way to paraphrase, decorate or embellish scripture with new descriptions and sometimes your more personal words, and it helps to touch the heart and the emotions. So I'm going to read through this prayer. And these come from, I was going to say, Isaiah, Matthew, Nehemiah, Luke. So it's a combination of scriptures that are some favorites for scriptures on surrendering.
So it starts out with;
You wake me at the morning watch.
Your glory moves me to my knees.
Lord, Jesus Christ have mercy.
I cry out and beg you please,
Lead me to encounter you
Your sacred presence like a flame.
Open up my eyes and ears
To worship now your Holy Name.
Dear Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
Please transform my human heart.
It is by your grace that I surrender.
Teach me Lord this sacred art.
So this prayer is just such a wonderful prayer to say every morning. I would ask you to take time to memorize it. Just repeat it over and over. And there's different ways that you can do this. I actually put it on my cell phone so I could quickly look at the cover of my cell phone and see that surrendering prayer there. Just to see if I could go through a day with this kind of an attitude, that I totally surrender to God this whole day. And keep being watchful and aware. Where is God going to enter into this day and show me this sacred art? What happens when we really surrender? Now I do think you should pray it daily.
I love Psalm 5. Psalm 5 says, "You will hear my voice in the morning oh, Lord. In the morning I will direct my prayer to you. I will look up." So this involves a prayer and a position, a body position. And we can almost say that we can pray with our bodies. So it is a holistic type of prayer with what we're seeing, what we're feeling and the movement of our bodies.
So the second practice is a Posture of surrender. Now, there's three different postures that I want you to consider. The first one is the posture of thanksgiving. This posture is when you're standing with arms raised, eyes open, looking upward, your hands are uplifted and the palms are open. So you stand in this position as a way of your body saying, I am grateful, I am thankful. And then the next one, if you're feeling you're asking in that prayer, “Lord have mercy”, asking for mercy is standing with your eyes looking down, your hands are folded or held downward. So you're moving in this position from looking up to looking down.
Another position here is the kneeling position. That one is with your eyes open, looking up, hands and palms are uplifted, or your eyes looking down and your hands are folded. So you use these postures as you pray the surrendering prayer. And really, these surrendering postures, honestly, are practices that you can use to turn real failures and humbling circumstances into Christ-like character. We can't always see how character is formed in our soul. It's the work of the Holy Spirit.
But if we humble ourselves and we use our whole body posture in prayer, it can really turn our failures and our humbling circumstances, help us to grow in Christ, to grow in the character of Christ. So think about it as a way of forming your soul by really putting your posture totally into this, what you are feeling. And we know that we can look at other people and look at how they're standing in their postures, it says a lot about them.
Now, the third surrendering practice is the Surrendering Flame, developing an intimate and transforming friendship with Christ and the Holy Spirit. The practice is to remind yourself to be ready to light the darkness with the truth. There's a promise that says, there will be a continuous or abundant fuel will be given, and the glory of the Lord will be shown. Some of those words come out of Exodus that tell us, make a lamp, burn it continually. Keep your lamp lit burning from evening till morning. Keep this as a permanent practice.
It's amazing, I lit a candle and I had my candle with me all day. And then we had a retreat and we had to take the candle all night. It was one of those tall cylinder candles lit. And if it fell over the flame would go out, so there wasn't any concern about these lighting anything on fire. But overnight what was really amazing is that the candle was lit. I could see it flickering on the wall all night long. And it really, it moves. It doesn't stay in one position. So it kept moving and I found myself turning toward that light and looking to say, is it still there?
I knew it because I could see it on the wall reflecting. But for some reason I had to keep continually looking up to see and be assured that that flame was actually burning in this candle. So try it. That kind of a practice where you just get a little candle and you become aware of this light with you all the time. In 2 Samuel says, "You are my lamp." In Psalm 18, "You light my lamp and you illuminate my path." So all of these verses are wonderful to be thinking, why is light so important? In Matthew there's this parable of the lamp and the oil. So the prudent take oil along with their lamps. What does this mean? What does the oil have to do with my lamp? Why is fuel important?
We're told to be ready and keep your lamps lit. So you might have the candle and you'll have the fuel. But if you're really aware of it, you actually are a part of lighting this light. You have to actually take the match and strike it, and then light this candle. So you are very much a part of this action. The word ignite is really defined as to arouse, to kindle. So it's this attitude that you have that kindles the work of the Holy Spirit. And if you really think about that, that you're a part of igniting this with the right attitude, with a humble attitude, this candle is lit, and the Holy Spirit begins to work. It moves about, it's a dance with the Holy Spirit.
Then you can carry this candle with you all day long and see what happens. I couldn't believe it. I would start out my day and you go, I left it in the other room. How many times did you forget to take your candle with you? So think about that. Could you actually carry this little candle with you all day and keep it lit from evening until morning. Even in the darkness, keep it bright. It's amazing at night, how bright that candle is. But when you're carrying it around for the daytime, you hardly see it. I know one night we took our candles and did a labyrinth, walk around our labyrinth. And it was really as if the light of God were leading us on this journey.
So there's a lot of ways you can use this light in a surrendering prayer and a posture of surrender that just really goes deep to speak to your heart and soul. And also, of course, when we come to blow out the candle, does the light go out? Or does it just change? Because I noticed when I blow out my candle, it also changes, it turns to smoke and it goes up. So I kind of reflected on that a bit, that it doesn't really go out. It just changes.
So I would say these surrendering practices, the Prayer, the Posture, and the Flame are a way of saying yes to God, to co-create with God a future or whatever is going on in your life that we have to surrender to. Be ready, be aware. And there are ways to be formed by the Spirit of Christ and surrender to a new future, to an experience, a sacred encounter. Perhaps grow in reverence for God so that we respond with godly character. Can't tell you how important that is as a leader.
Later in life you can really tell those whose character have been formed by Christ and those whose character have been formed by the world. There is a stark difference. But with these practices, you can have a simple awareness of a living connection maintained by the power of the Holy Spirit, moment by moment. Think of the parable of the vine and the branches. So be the branch of a strong vine. Really, our only action is to be open to receive with this attitude of surrender. And when your heart is in the right attitude, then God will touch you, and you will hear his voice.
Another definition of surrender can be spiritual poverty. And this is when you have no answers. We're kind of in that right now with this COVID. Not only do we not have any answers, but even the questions have changed. Where do we go? Well, the song I Surrender All by Hillsong, I think is a great song to listen to, and allow that just to kind of wash over you. You could sing this and use the posture or the flame and just kind of take some time to reflect through music. I think what's really important though, is to surrender to a new future. To be formed by God and not by the present circumstances or the problems that you're facing. Be formed by a deeper friendship with Jesus.
If you have any questions or want to view the show notes and resources, please go to my website at unlockingchristianspiritualpracticespodcast.com. On my next podcast, I'm going to share with you a way to answer our sacred questions using the practice of a clearness committee. Recently, I had some young professionals ask me for a practice, or a way to find answers to our questions that help to move us forward with clarity. So what we’re looking for is a method that includes others who can share Godly wisdom and help them to move forward in their lives. I look forward to sharing this with you next time. Thank you for listening and blessings on your journey.