A few years ago when our youngest graduated from high school we hosted his graduation open house outdoors in our yard. As we were cleaning up afterwards one of the helium balloons that had been tied to a table as decoration escaped my grip and floated away. I stood for a moment to watch it rise into the air, its red ribbon tail twisting behind it. Finally it slipped behind the clouds and disappeared. Just like sending a prayer to God, I thought, and suddenly I could visualize all my praises and petitions twirling up to the throne room of God. That particular day prayers for my newly graduated son’s future were tied to that string and many more would follow.
The apostle John gives me an even better image when he describes the church’s ascending prayers as wispy curls of sweet-smelling incense “The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel’s hand.” Revelation 4:8. I love that thought – that my prayers rise up before God and that He hears and actually sees my prayers.
Still there are times in my life when I have struggled to let go of the string that’s holding on to my prayer request. Let’s be honest. I still struggle at times. I ask God to give me the courage to face an uncertain situation, to handle a difficult person, to give up control, but it isn’t long before I am madly grasping for the string to pull it back.
It can be a real challenge to walk by faith and not by sight, but that is what we are called to do. In order for God to take charge of our lives we have to allow Him to work. Our Father in heaven is the perfect gentleman. He never forces His way in, but Jesus says “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in.” If I want God to take control of my life I have to be willing to release my problems and petitions to Him. I have to relax my grip on the things around me and let them ascend to heaven being confident in the knowledge that God hears and sees my needs and will act upon them. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Thank-you, Lord, that I do not have to hold tight to the strings that seem to bind my life together. Jesus, help me to remember that to release those ties is to find freedom in You.