Say “Mercy!”

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer . . . let your requests be made known to God. —Philippians 4:6

You may have played the game when you were a child. You interlace your fingers with someone else’s and try to bend the other’s hands back until one or the other cries “Mercy!” The winner is the one who gets the other person to surrender.

Sometimes we try to play “Mercy” with God when we pray. We have a request that we desperately want answered in a certain way, so we try to “bend His fingers back” and get Him to give in. When it seems we aren’t winning, we try a little harder to convince Him by begging or bargaining. We may even give up grudgingly and say, “Lord, You always win! That’s not fair!”

God does want honesty of heart. But occasionally in our honesty a demanding spirit comes out. Deep down we know that prayer is not meant to be a contest with God that we try to win. In our wiser moments, we make our requests known to our Lord, surrender them to Him, rely on His grace, and wait for His answers (Philippians 4:6-7). Author Hannah Whitall Smith said, “Be glad and eager to throw yourself unreservedly into His loving arms, and to hand over the reins of government to Him.”

Instead of praying with grudging resignation, “Lord, You always win,” surrender to Him. Say “Mercy!”

Anne Cetas

In Jesus’ name we voice our prayers—
  The Bible tells us to;
  But may we never use that name
To tell God what to do.

D. De Haan

Prayer isn’t a time to give orders but to report for duty!

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