A Prayer of Surrender
Whenever I am at a loss for the words to say in the act of prayer, I default to the following prayer:
Lord, I do not know what I ought to ask of You. You only know what we need. You love me better than I know how to love myself. O Father, give to Your child that for which he himself does not know how to ask. I dare not ask either for crosses or consolations. I simply present myself before You. I open my heart to You. Behold my needs that I do not know myself. See, and do according to Your tender mercy. Smite or heal. Depress me or raise me up. I adore all Your purposes without knowing them. I am silent. I offer myself in sacrifice. I yield myself to You. I would have no other desire than to accomplish Your will. Teach me to pray. Pray Yourself in me.
Francois de Salignac Fenelon
Archbishop of Cambray. 1651-1715 A.D.
I like this prayer, because it is essentially surrendering my destiny to God's will.
In it is the act of letting God and trusting God to sustain me.
Let me break it down for you line by line.
"I do not know what I ought to ask of you. You only know what we need. You love me better than I know how to love myself.O Father, give to Your child that for which he himself does not know how to ask."
I say this, because often times I overwhelm myself with all the things that I want in this world. However, I acknowledge the fact that I don't know what is best for myself so how can I know the right things to ask to make my life "perfect". God knows me inside and out, past present and future. So, only He knows what is best for me. The last part of that is asking God to give to me even those things that I've never even considered. Have you ever made a grocery list and gone to the store and bought everything and then you get home and realize you forgot to put something on the grocery list. The prayer asks God to provide those things that you forgot to put on the list or didn't even know you needed.
"I dare not ask either for crosses or consolations. I simply present myself before You. I open my heart to You. Behold my needs that I do not know myself."
The first part of this tells God that you would rather not ask for afflictions or comfort. Many of us do end up prayer for God to add this or that into our life. These things could either become a burden to us or serve to pacify us. However, this prayer doesn't ask for any such things. It offers to "simply present (oneself) before (God)". Think of it as coming before a king and just meek and humble in the presence of all his grandness and just allowing him to do what he wills with you. It suggests that you are opening your heart to God and letting Him into your innermost being. You ask him to behold those things you did not even know you needed. This is a reiteration of what was implied in the first few lines.
Francois Fenelon Quotes
Books by and About Francois Fenelon
"See, and do according to Your tender mercy. Smite or heal. Depress me or raise me up. I adore all Your purposes without knowing them."
The last line asked God to behold your needs. The first part of this section asks Him to see those needs and act upon them according to His mercy. Can you imagine going to someone you know and presumably trust, telling them you just crashed their car and that you are at their mercy. They now have the option of making you pay for the damages or forgiving you. Most people would try to lie and get away with it avoiding telling their friend, because they assume their friend will not act mercifully. This prayer also does not assume that God will act mercifully. In fact is offers that God should feel free to smite you or heal you. My sister once told me that this prayer "scares her". She would rather not give God the chance to smite her. This prayer takes a lot of faith. You have to believe that God has your best interest at heart. That even when he "smites" you, He does it in love and you are a better person for experiencing it. That you would proclaim "I adore all Your purposes without knowing them."
"I am silent. I offer myself in sacrifice. I yield myself to You. I would have no other desire than to accomplish Your will."
This part of the prayer implies that you are not fighting. You are not pushing in any direction. You are still. You are "silent". You "offer (yourself) in sacrifice". When I think of this, I think of certain people in the Bible. Like Abraham, Elijah and the blessed Virgin Mary. When they heard the voice of God calling them, even though what he asked of them was great, they did not hesitate to say "Hear I am Lord. I heard you calling. Let it be done to me according to your will."
Cece Winans: I Surrender All
How often do you pray?
"Teach me to pray. Pray Yourself in me."
I'm not sure what this line means. If you know, please leave a comment. When I find out, I will update this article with the meaning.
I hope this prayer brings you as much joy and peace as it brings me. Remain blessed!