Have you ever heard the phrase, “Let go and let God?” It’s such good advice and a practice perfectly aligned with trusting God and having faith. But I never say that to those I listen with; it’s just too glib. It doesn’t take in the fact that when someone we love is ill or in danger, making bad choices or maybe not in touch at all, saying this doesn’t sound compassionate. You can’t just snap your fingers and “let it go.” This is definitely a practice—it's done slowly and over time, with each and every situation that challenges us. I am attaching a prayer that has helped me when I know I was helpless in more than one situation.
To a dear one about whom I have been concerned,
I behold the Christ in you.
I place you lovingly in the care of the Father.
I release you from my anxiety and concern.
I let go of my possessive hold on you.
I am willing to free you to follow the dictates of your indwelling Lord.
I am willing to free you to live your life according to your best light and understanding.
Husband, wife, child, friend—
I no longer try to force my ideas on you, my ways on you.
I lift my thoughts above you, above the personal level.
I see you as God sees you, a spiritual being, created in his image, and endowed
with qualities and abilities that make you needed and important—not only to me
but to God and His larger plan.
I do not bind you. I no longer believe that you do not have the understanding you need
In order to meet life.
I bless you. I have faith in you. I behold Jesus in you.
(Author unknown. Surrender: A guide to prayer; J. Bergan and S.M. Schwan; St. Mary’s Press, 1986, p.139.
Pastor Marcia Wakeland is a retired ELCA pastor, a spiritual director and a listening advocate. She is interested in the actual experience of having faith and how that is lived out. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org for comments or more questions Her ongoing blog of living out spiritual practices is listeninglife.live.