The Hardest Prayer to Pray

Last Lent, I had the opportunity to do the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius for the first time. A long-time fan of Ignatian spirituality, I decided it was high time I did the exercises. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was not prepared for what the Lord showed me about myself.

More or less, Jesus told me that in our relationship I am actually pretty controlling. Well, who the heck wants to hear that?! Not this girl! In praying about some frustrating things in life, I asked the Lord what He was trying to teach me. As I sat with it over time in silence, what kept coming to me is, “You’re not in control, sweetie.” I am not in control and when I try to control Jesus, I am actually unable to receive from Him.

The most difficult prayers I have prayed in my life (and still do) are ones of abandonment and submission to the will of God. For a type-A planner like myself, it is so easy to tell Jesus what I think the best option or plan is. But that is neither how God nor prayer works. We call that manipulation, not worship.

Reading the Psalm for today reminded me yet again that the hardest prayer for me to pray is a variation of “Here I am, Lord; I come to do Your Will.” (Psalm 40:8-9) When I feel those controlling tendencies creeping in, I try to catch myself and pray, Jesus, give me the desire to know and accept Your will. Give me the desire to want Your will more than what I want. Now it isn’t a fool-proof method, but I see it keeps me honest and accountable before the Lord in an area in which I struggle spiritually.

Jesus, when I try to control things in my life, I am unable to truly receive from You. Help me get out of Your way, so that You reign more in my life.

[Tweet “Help me get out of Your way, so that You reign more in my life. // @amoderngrace”]

Jesus, give me the desire to want to want Your will more.

Patty Breen is a runner, youth minister ordinaire, and thinks old movies are the greatest thing since sliced bread.  When not fundraising for World Youth Day, she is learning to find grace in all things. You can find out more about her here.


  • Reply
    October 24, 2017 at 7:18 am

    Thank you and may you feel the light of His will today.

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    October 24, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    Oh, thank you, I needed this right now.

  • Reply
    October 24, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    I really needed this. Thank you so much. I will definitely be praying that prayer….being in college, it is easy to convince yourself that you have the control over everything, but in all honestly, that makes my life more out of control!

  • Reply
    Jaclyn Tarrant
    October 24, 2017 at 12:42 pm

    Thank you for the beautiful reflection Patty! I think we can all relate to this struggle. I’d love to make the Spiritual Exercises some day 🙂

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    October 24, 2017 at 10:51 pm

    This hit me like a ton of bricks this morning, but in the best way possible. I definitely need this reminder right now.

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    October 25, 2017 at 6:11 am

    So this is random but I feel like it’s a sign!? Like I’ve been so worried about my future and preparing for this bible study thing….I have to share this. Anyways for some time I have been reading a section of the Bible each day. I started with Psalms. So yesterday I decided to sign up for “Blessed is she” devotionals. This morning was the first time I did it.. so I read Psalms 40 about the verse “Here I am Lord I’m at your will” and similar to me this girl was saying how she’s lsuper worried about everything and she likes to be in control of everything and how this was a wake up call for her. And then I open my bible to see which section I was supposed to read And my bookmark was right at PSALMS 40! Like that was the next section I was supposed to read today. Like what a coincidence! I was like what?! Tears started streaming down my face. Thank you God!!!

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    Judy H.
    October 26, 2017 at 12:22 am

    Perfect! This is a beautiful thought and prayer. It has touched my heart in a special way, I will be saying this aloud and to myself several times a day, everyday to remind me of our God’s perfect plan for each of us. Thank you

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