When You Pray…

Written by Jennifer Azubuike


At the close of work one day, I jumped into my car happy to head home. The radio came on as soon as I turned on the engine; it was a Christian radio station so I didn’t mind. I drove and listened as the host asked listeners to call in and define the acronym ‘PRAY.’ It was during this conversation, I heard for the first time the breakdown of the word. I call “pray” a word because I had never thought of it as an acronym before that moment. Before I go any further, here’s a useful context on prayer. 


The first time Jesus taught His disciples to pray, his words were recorded in the excerpt below. Later, His prayer was termed ‘Our Lord’s prayer.’ Over time it became the template that Christians use to pray. His words go thus:


“This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’’’ Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2,4


His prayer, when analyzed, contains elements of praise or reverence, repentance then requesting. I can summarize it as praise-repent-ask. However, The fourth letter of the acronym ‘Y’ as in yield caught me unaware since that element is not immediately apparent until you look closer – “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”


Yield by dictionary definition means to surrender to someone or something. If praying, as I know it, is mainly about listing personal desires to God with the expectation that He would do them like a child asking his/her parents for something, what has ‘surrender’ anything to do with it? But then as I thought about it I was reminded of Jesus’s example in Matthew 26 just before he was arrested and crucified. 


‘Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” ‘Matthew 26:39


Jesus made that prayer the night He was betrayed into the hands of the people who would later kill him. Being all-knowing, He knew what was coming at that moment and was burdened by it, so he asked God to change his fate of death. It was a legitimate request because it was his heart’s desire at that moment, yet after asking he surrendered to God’s will. Because he surrendered, God’s will was established; today we celebrate salvation, deliverance, and many more through Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Yielding is a part of praying which I have missed for so long. Of course, it will not be easy to incorporate into praying unless I can trust that God’s thoughts toward me are “thoughts of peace and not of evil to give [me] a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11


**I’d love to read your thoughts on this in the comment section**


Until next time, stay lifted!

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