So often I’ve heard it in public prayers — Hey! So often I’ve prayed it myself! — “God, be my strength! Be my comfort! Be my protection! Be my hope!”
I suppose that others may not have their heads in the clouds quite as much as I tend to, so perhaps the revelation God gave me this morning won’t come as a new one for you. It certainly was for me, however, and wow! How this will powerfully change my prayers!
You see, when I’ve heard this before, when I’ve prayed it, either for myself or for someone else, I’ve always taken it as a request. In fact, the word, “please” could easily be added in, in my opinion, and I often did add this word: “Lord, please be my strength, please be his comfort, please be our protection…” etc.
I will admit, however, that as I have heard these prayers and as I have prayed them myself, the thought in my mind has always been that I’m some how begging God, that I’m using this prayer to somehow turn His hand in a way that maybe He might not have wanted to turn it.
Most of us have had it happen that we get a song stuck in our heads. This is technically known as an “ear bug”, and I don’t know about you, but it drives me nuts sometimes! This morning I was struggling yet again to relinquish control of my agenda to the God who can handle it all when something came crashing in to ruin all of my “precious” plans. As if I didn’t have enough to worry about in that moment, I got an ear bug: “Jesus, be the Centre…”*
It was nothing but a distraction at first, but then I gave in and let the words flow over me:
“Be my source, be my light…Be my hope, be my song… Be the fire in my heart, Be the wind in these sails, Be the reason that I live… Be my vision, Be my path, be my Guide, Jesus” *
As the “ear bug” played itself out, I realized I truly desired for Jesus to be my centre, my source, my light, my hope, my song, the fire in my heart, the wind in my sails, the reason that I live, my vision, my path, my guide. I understood that if He were truly these things, I wouldn’t struggle so much with control. And slowly, the words of this “ear bug” became my prayer. I actually stopped what I was doing, and with tears streaming down my face, I began to beg God to be my everything.
Did it make me feel better?
Not at all. In fact, I felt worse. You see, I already know that Jesus is all of these things already. Therefore, why should I need to beg Him to be those things for me? Didn’t He love me?
It was then that the realization hit me. All these years I’ve been misunderstanding these prayers! Hey! I had even been misunderstanding this song! The key wasn’t that I needed to beg Him to be my everything. He already is my everything! The purpose of these prayers isn’t to turn God’s hand; rather, it is to accept in my own life what He already is! The prayer is, essentially, an act of surrender!
I began praying the words of the song once again, only this time, I did so in a posture of humility, a posture of surrender, turning my agenda over to Him so that He could become my everything.
At some point after that, I did manage to recall my former problem, how someone had thrown a monkey wrench into my plans. Somehow, however, it no longer seemed like anything worth worrying about… Not after having surrendered my day entirely to Christ and allowing Him to truly be the centre!
Is this what is meant by the author of the book of Hebrews: “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” (Hebrews 4:16 NLT)? It is when we humble ourselves before Him enough to surrender our problems and admit we can’t do it alone that we can then come boldly before the throne of grace and receive from Him?
As I said at the beginning, this may not be a revelation to some of you, and if you find yourself in that category, I want to congratulate you on having fully surrendered to Christ. If you, however, find yourself in the same boat as I did, using this as a prayer to somehow turn God’s hand into being your strength, etc., then remember that God already is all of these things. Our job is to surrender ourselves to Him so that we can accept His strength, etc!
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart
Moderator, Associate Director, Answers2Prayer Ministries
* “Be the Center” from Vineyard Worship, 1999 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNOLwKGgGWQ