When They Prayed
FROM THE BISHOP DAVID GRAVES   I chose the theme of our 2023 Annual Conference session, “When They Prayed,” based on Acts 4:31: “And when they had prayed, the place in which they ...
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Letting it go

February 20, 2017

The first time I did it was before I was 30. I waited a long time before doing it again, not because I didn’t want to, but because it’s simply not the kind of thing I enter into lightly. Both times I was at a difficult place in my life, a crossroads where my strong desire for answers crossed my equally strong desire to please God. Something had to give.

I was barren, and the heartache of not conceiving rested on my shoulders with pain that felt like a giant boulder. The trouble with wanting something as badly as I wanted a child is not that the desire is wrong, it’s that the desire completely took over every other thought in my life. I read once that whatever you think about the most is in danger of becoming your idol. I was in danger, and so on a lovely fall day I knelt by my bed and made this simple prayer.

“I give up my right to have a child. I want a child so much. But I want what you want more than I want what I want.”

There was great relief afterward, as if all of heaven heard me and joined the plan God had all along. Somehow, I knew I would have a child. Just knew it.

And, it happened. Shawn was given to us shortly afterward. A beautiful month old baby boy. Adoption! Wow, God. Your plan is so good! Nine months later, I was pregnant. A little brother joined Shawn when he was 18 months old.

Divorce came. Painful. Unwanted. Hurtful. Four years passed. When Shawn was 14 and Chad was 13, I knelt once again. “I really would like a husband. But I give up that right. I want what you want more than I want what I want.”

Heavenly forces got busy. I knew I would be married again. Just knew it.

I met my Roy three months later. We were married for almost 25 years before he moved his residence from earth to heaven. Leukemia claimed his body, but it could not claim his soul. He died victoriously, leaving wonderful life lessons for his family and a legacy of faith to his children and grandchildren.

Many years later when reading a book by the late Catherine Marshall, I learned the name of what I did. She called this prayer “The Prayer of Relinquishment.”

God always comes through for us. His plans are greater than anything we can imagine. He has proven that to me all of my life, but never more than the times when I gave up my will for His.

Thank you, Abba Father. You always far exceed my desire. You are simply The Best.

The Rev. B.J. Funk, associate pastor of Central UMC in Fitzgerald, has written a book with 50 devotionals on grief based on her personal experience. “Grief is not a Permanent Condition: 50 Devotionals to Help You Through the Grieving Process” points the reader to Jesus and the hope found in Him. Visit www.bjfunkgrief.com for more information and to order. Email Rev. Funk at bjfunk@bellsouth.net.

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