The Prayer of Relinquishment

If you’re like me, there’s hardly anything in life more frustrating than when you lose something that’s important to you. The day is off to a bad start if you can’t remember where you put your car keys, your cell phone, or the computer file you’d worked on all day yesterday.


Everything else is put on hold until you find what you lost.


On the other hand, nothing is more exhilarating than to find something you thought might be gone forever. Jesus tells three stories about this kind of experience in Luke 15, where a lost sheep, lost coin, and lost son all were regained with great joy.


Have you ever had this kind of experience?


Recently I uncovered a “lost” secret to having an adventurous, discovered-filled life. I feel like the man in Matthew 13:44 (MSG) who unexpectedly found “a treasure hidden in a field for years.” How could I have missed or neglected this “treasure” for so long?


The secret is amazingly simple, found in a single word. It’s a word that probably sounds wimpy or even defeatist at first—yet it’s anything but that. The word is filled with explosive power and potential, but this is a lot like nuclear energy—hidden away for millennia inside of tiny atoms.


Even though this word is never used in the Bible, the concept is found throughout. However, there’s a good chance you’ve never heard a sermon by this name.


So here it is, the forgotten key to a happy, fruitful, and prosperous life of discovery:




Dictionaries define relinquishment as surrendering, releasing, letting go, or yielding. The closest Bible “proof text” I could find was an obscure marginal reference in Psalm 46:10 (nasb):  LET GO and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The secret to having God exalted in our lives is in simply letting go—relinquishing something we treasure to Him. Or, as Jesus told us, we must lose our life in order to find it (Luke 17:33).


Relinquishment takes a person’s life from ordinary to extraordinary…from bland to blessed…from victim to victor…and from boring to bold. In contrast, nothing is duller or more depressing than trying hold on to what we already have.


Abraham’s son Isaac was just an ordinary young man until Abraham relinquished him to the Lord and put him on the altar of sacrifice (Genesis 22).


Once Moses relinquished his ordinary shepherd’s staff (Exodus 4:1-5), it was transformed into “the rod of God,” able to perform mighty miracles.


There was nothing extraordinary about the five loaves and two fish the disciples had on hand—until they relinquished their supply to Jesus (Matthew 14).


The stone waterpots in John 2 contained only ordinary, colorless, tasteless water, until Jesus took the bland water and did a miracle—turning it into sparkling, tasty, intoxicating wine.


You see, whenever RELINQUISMENT takes place, life gets exciting and God does miracles. So why is it so easy to miss this? The answer is simple: Because of fear and unbelief, we tend to hang on to our meager resources rather than entrust them into the hands of God.


The life of faith is never ordinary, bland, or unexciting. But the “religious” life is a completely different story. Religion always turns the wine back into water and removes the fizz from the adventurous life God planned for us.


Jesus relinquished the rights of His heavenly life in order to embark on the great adventure of redeeming humankind and giving us a right to enter heaven. Still today, He beckons us to a life of relinquishment, where it is “more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).


Instead of being a life of boredom or defeat, a life of relinquishment is a life of anticipation, success, and victory. What can God do with that “thing” you are holding in your hand? You’ll never know until you relinquish it to Him. That’s when the fun starts and the fizz returns.



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