Reading Hebrews 11 reminds me that today’s “yes” to God is a ripple in the pond of generations. The #livefree Thursday prompt today is “whisper yes.”
I’m blessed by the record of others’ obedience to God, and challenged to add my “yes” to the choir of faithful followers.
In the age of Twitter and of typing on micro-keyboards with one’s thumbs, we are a concise people, and we see this in the title of Jennie Allen’s book, Anything, about a one-word prayer that will change everything. Reading her heart in its pages, my mind was carried to the historical prayer of Betty Scott Stam, a missionary to China who became a martyr in 1934:
“Lord, I give up all my own plans and purposes
All my own desires and hopes and accept Thy will for my life.
I give myself, my life, my all
Utterly to Thee to be Thine forever.
Fill me and seal me with Thy Holy Spirit
Use me as Thou wilt, send me where Thou wilt
And work out Thy whole will in my life at any cost now
Jennie acknowledges that she stands on the shoulders of saints through the ages who have also said, “Anything,” to God, and she tells the stories of a few of them: Bill Bright, D.L. Moody, and Jim Elliot. She also tells the Anything stories of the lesser known and the unknown who are spiritual dominoes in the long progression of obedience to Christ, praying like breathing and submitting to the Spirit’s prodding.
Jennie’s Anything prayer process began the night she read the story of a young woman named Katie who left everything behind to raise orphans in Africa. Stunned and challenged, Jennie and her husband, item by item, treasure by treasure, began offering the trappings of their “normal” life to God in exchange for a better dream.
Since the original release of Anything, the newly revised edition has been updated to include an eight-week Bible study along with a chapter on life in the Allen family since the Anything prayer, which has revealed that when life on this planet is put in its proper perspective, it is exposed for what it is — small and inadequate. Offering all one’s “plans and purposes, desires and hopes” (Anything!) to God reveals Him as very big and very adequate, and I was stopped in my tracks by Jennie’s high view of God:
- “When God gives us grace, He is also taking something from us. He takes our control.”
- “In one act God did what no amount of effort on our part could do. He sacrificed His perfect Son, placing every sin on Him. No sin would be exempt from this ransom.”
- “If God is really real, and we are going to live with Him forever, shouldn’t He be the only thing?”
This is theological high ground, but even so, the Anything prayer comes down to every day obedience, forgiveness, acts of mercy, and surrender in the mundane details of life.
And so, the question hangs in the air for all who believingly follows Jesus: What is your Anything?
This book was provided by Thomas Nelson through the BookLookBloggers program in exchange for my review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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