Perhaps a decade or so ago I was browsing through the reduced bin at a local bookstore. I found a delightful book that brought me a greater understanding of how I was expected to walk in faith without questioning. The title of the book is “Surprise Me” by Terry Esau. I was hooked when I read the chapter heading “and on the 8th day God said Surprise!” I busted out laughing at the truth in that!
The message was a simple one. Terry Esau was inspired to ask himself the question, “what would happen if I woke up one day and didn’t give a long laundry list in prayer of do this, fix this, provide, please arrange this, don’t let that happen, make me, stop them, etc. He asked himself, “What would happen if I simply said ‘Surprise Me?’”
When I read his statement I stood there dumbfounded, and actually held my breath for a moment! My mind had immediately jumped into scenes of horrible calamity, of lightning strikes upon my head, earthquakes, all kinds of disease and pestilence instantly coming down upon me! I actually had the thought that I would absolutely die if I dared to do this thing! Wow, this man had to be crazy to take that chance! Imagine actually praying to be surprised: pshaw!
With my pulse racing at the thought of not giving a morning prayer time to-do list, my runaway mind just as suddenly stopped. I found myself equally astounded at the fearful in that visceral response, and then I timidly, even breathlessly, allowed myself to question, “Why did I just leap headlong into FEAR like that? Do I actually control ANYHING that happens to me already?
I had to admit that I only delude myself to think that I can control anything. I’m always a glass half full kind of person. Why would I not instead immediately jump into remembering the tons of blessings and positive things that regularly happen to me each day, when in fact, I always wake up breathing and usually in pretty good health even if on some occasions I should actually fail to pray at all when I arise.
Terry Esau’s book is the result of his own 30 day experiment with this simple beginning of the day prayer; SURPRISE ME!
Needless to say, it was an eye opening moment for me. I bought the book and rushed home to read it. I could see how the ‘if that didn’t happen there then this thing would not have been possible.’ Totally embracing this approach, I firmly determined that I wanted to be filled with greater understanding and be given the strongest assurance that He is not out to punish and torment me. I do NOT have to outsmart Him into His protection, His allowing me to live another day. He knows best what is best for me! I just muddle it up when I try to lead.
When did I forget that He is the Creator Of The Universe? Why do I forget and slip into the habit of limiting Him to meet my own human expectations? Time to change my focus; to willingly and diligently submit myself into everything He has planned out for me. Time to let Him actually BE my Shepherd!
Early mornings I awoke and eagerly gave thanks for His LOVE for me, for all the things He had chosen for me yesterday, for guiding me through them, and then asking for Him to “Surprise me” today and let me be aware of how it all fits together!
This was an eye opening experiment for me, and it still quietly reverberates through my life on a daily basis all these years later. In my prayers now, I don’t try to focus on trying to be in control of His actions by my lowly human manipulations of prayer, to beg Him, but to tell Him, Father, You know my every need and You have promised to provide them. I thank You for the answers to the current “problem areas” in my life that have already been “fixed” from the beginning in Your master plan, but that I just haven’t seen fulfilled yet. Put me in Your Timing and in Your Will on a daily basis. Let me see through spiritual eyes; how You are providing for my needs and how You bring them into my life!
Pray for things that are not, as if they are so; in HIS TIMING and in HIS WILL, all things that He has written for us will come to pass.
Approaching prayer with the positive attitude of submission rather than trying desperately to make Him my servant has shown me that He usually answers me in ways that I would never expect–approaches that will further enlighten and enhance my understanding. This approach has stretched me, encouraged, strengthened my faith and opened up new dimensions to work His Will within my life!
I encourage everyone to give this approach to prayer a try and see where it takes you on your own faith walk! My warning to you; Be prepared to be amazed!