Some of my blog-friends have chosen one word to guide them through 2014. Sharon and Beth chose ‘Joy’. I chose ‘Surrender.’

To start my ‘Year of Surrender’, I decided to dedicate time every day to Centering Prayer. Sometimes it’s called Contemplative Prayer. Thomas Keating has dedicated much of his life and writing to teaching this type of prayer. It’s all about surrender.

This is prayer of the quiet. It’s making a conscious decision not to think or say anything to the Lord, only to be present in the moment. It’s opening my soul to what God wants to say or give. Centering prayer is wordless and intention-less. I’m sitting at the Lord’s feet, surrendering my mind and heart to the one who made them. It’s a silent ‘yes’, so he can flow into my soul without obstacle.


Waiting in expectation is the foundation of the Spiritual Life.         ~Simone Weil


It’s harder than it sounds. I’m a bit of a chatterer when it comes to prayer. Like King David, I talk about my problems, hopes and dreams. It’s wonderful and necessary. But it’s also limiting. My constant stream of words block any listening. I’m so intent on letting God know what I need, I don’t give him any time to communicate his heart to me.

I also find that mentally slowing down to a crawl opens the door to a lot of interior noise. I think my overworked and crowded brain can’t believe it finally got a minute of silence. So excited to have the floor, it starts rapid-firing it’s repressed messages. “Make that phone call! Pay that bill! Light a candle! Did you turn off the oven?” If my mind were a firework, it would be a Roman Candle.

The goal is to let the babble run at a low volume so I can get back to quiet. My friend Amy told me that at the moment of distraction, she asks Jesus to pray for that thought. Then she forgets it, because it’s covered. I liked that strategy, and began to use it.

Even though this is a new practice, I have seen evidence of new graces. Situations that bothered me before are met with more peace. I have a new practice of talking less and listening more. Oh and…ahem…I’ve discovered a pretty big-sized ego that needs some work. Turns out my life isn’t all about me.


We have to pitch our tents where we shall always have quiet times with God, however noisy our times with the world may be.             ~Oswald Chambers


I hope that all who have chosen a word for the year are being graced with renewed strength in them. It’s only midyear, and there’s much more ahead. I’m looking forward to what God will show me. I’m hoping that Jesus will calm all those insistent voices too.

I think Amy is on to something. If I give myself to silent prayer, and then give my distractions to Jesus, I am surrendering twice. I think the Lord likes that.

I know I do.



The door to the soul’s surrender, and the key to the voice of God.


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74 thoughts on “Surrender

  1. I love this! It’s something I’ve tried to do, but like you, my brain rushes to fill the silence. Thank you for sharing how you are learning to deal with this – you are encouragement to me!

    • Hi Diana! How nice to see you today!

      It really is a challenge, believe me. I can’t really say that its getting easier yet, but still I see the benefits. I think Jesus really likes the efforts, and doesn’t care about perfection. Thank goodness for that!

      I’m glad you see this as encouragement too. That’s what we should be for each other 🙂
      Happy Monday,

  2. I like that idea of surrendering thoughts to Jesus. I have a hard time staying on track when I have quiet time. I’m often reminded to “be still and know that I am God”, but being still is oh, so hard!

    • Hi Mari! I agree. Being ‘still’ is not something that comes very easily to me either. Life is so loud and fast!

      I’m going to keep at it though. I think the effort is what God really likes. He knows I am very distractible, but am willing to put the time in to try and quiet the noise with him. I like that passage you quoted! I should have added it to the post. It’s perfect!

      Monday blessings,

  3. I enjoyed your post and love your explanation of “surrender”. That sounds like a good word. It is actually one of the reasons I really feel the need to “simplify” and “streamline”; my two guiding words for 2014. I had to choose two, lol. I’m making good progress in steamlining but have a ways yet to go before I can truly simplify. Perhaps I will have to carry my word “simplify” into the next year. God bless. xx

    • Hi Joyful! I like your words for the year! (And I think it’s a great idea to carry ‘simplify’ on to next year too.) It’s hard to come up with just one concept isn’t it? I feel like there are so many guiding words to choose from…

      Good for you on you work to ‘streamline.’ That’s a great goal. Get rid of all the extra stuff and concentrate on what is important. That’s what we all should be doing!

      Blessings 🙂

  4. Often we view the word “surrender” with weakness. But when it comes to surrendering to God it is indeed an act of supreme Faith. We surrender our all to Him in the sure knowledge that He loves and cares for us.

    You have been nominated for an Award on my Blog.

    God bless.

    • Hi Victor! I think you’re right about the idea of ‘surrender’. It does indicate defeat on the battlefields. But with God, it’s the way to win! Jesus really did come to turn things upside down 🙂

      I’ll be coming over to your blog today. Thank you for the nomination!

      Monday blessings,

  5. Dear Ceil
    I just seems to be so true when you think about that going into the inner chamber, closing the door from the inside and then talking to God. We have a way to start chatting when we are still on our way to our inner heart; there where our Lord Jesus lives. For the Kingdom of God is within us!
    Blessings XX

    • Hi Mia! How nice to see you today!

      I like the way you describe your method of getting to silence. It is a lot like traveling, from world to spirit. Well, that’s the hope anyway. I am not always as successful as I would like, but I know that Jesus appreciates the efforts.

      The Kingdom of God is alive in us, no question. I want to use this year to especially see the need to give up my chatter, and allow that Kingdom to flourish!

      Have a blessed day my friend!

  6. Ceil, thank you so much for sharing this about surrender today. I have read about this, but never really knew anyone who actually practiced it. The Lord has been dealing with me about talking less and listening more. I’ve been working at it, but it seems I’ve been willing to do that with other people in my life, but not with Him. I’m convicted…thanks again, Ceil, for your obedience to share. Hugs to you.

    • Hi Dianna! What a beautiful invitation you are hearing from the Lord! He wants to give you so much love and blessings…I feel the same way about God speaking to me too.

      I think I ask and ask for a closer relationship to the Lord, but skip the part about listening to him. It has to be a two-way street. It’s not easy for me either, believe me. But I’ll keep trying!

      I pray that you’ll have a wonderful experience in prayer with God. He wants to have you all to himself!


    • Hi Pam! That’s great! I am not always at peace, but it’s coming bit by bit. I really have benefitted greatly from this spiritual practice.

      Nice to see you again 🙂

  7. Hello Ceil! Thanks for reminding us that we may have chosen a word way back in January! I did, and although I didn’t post it on my blog this year, I did choose the word “Adoration”, which was specifically for my relationship with the Lord. Your words here will help in my continued desire for a deeper devotion. I had to laugh at your comment that this life isn’t “all about me”. Gosh, I feel the same way sometimes. It can be hard to look through different eyes.
    I hope your days with your grandchildren were filled with joy! Have a great day.

    • Hi Kathleen! Well, I’m glad I’m not the only one. Sometimes the Lord lets me know I think a wee bit too much of myself. Erg. I know it’s true!

      What a wonderful word for the year…as I think I told you, I am the Adoration Chapel leader on Thursdays at my parish. It is such a great experience. I try to get there twice a week.

      The grandchildren were lots of fun, and the longer visit really helped the two year old get comfy with me. The six month old? Not so much.
      Well, step by step I guess!
      Good to see you 🙂

  8. Good morning Ceil! This sounds like something I really need to try. Sometimes I feel guilty just bringing all my “stuff” to the Lord and dumping on Him. I should try and just listen more often. Like many others I know I easily get distracted while praying (very frustrating!). If you have read The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis you have an idea how the enemy workds. Constantly trying to interfer with our walk with the Lord. Thanks for this wonderful insight! Hope you have a beautiful day! 🙂

    • Hi Joyful! I don’t think I have read the Screwtape Letters, although my sister keeps telling me I need to…well, you have made up my mind. Off to the library for me!! (I’ll let you know what I think)

      But yes, those darn distractions are the work of my mind, and of evil. The devil will do anything to keep me away from my Lord. Good point. Thank you!

      Wishing you a beautiful day too!

  9. Ceil this is really great! I’m use to walking the floor when praying to preventing drifting off to sleep…(lol). But I love your insights on this, and i’m already dreaming about how I can creatively incorporating more silent moments like this with my time with the Lord.

    I must It’s refreshing reading your post today. Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi Shade! I’m so glad you liked the post today! And I can just imagine you pacing the floor, talking to the Lord. Beautiful.

      Whatever releases your mind to the Lord is a great thing. Silence is really a powerful tool for me, and I hope it will be for you too.

      Thank you for the Twitter love too 🙂

  10. Hello Ceil, I want to keep the quiet and peace of those moments of His deep presence! I know I find myself making the choice to surrender daily!
    I hope you are well and writing your heart out>>> as I look forward to your book one day! Yours, Roxy

    • Hi Roxy! That’s so great! I have to make that choice of surrender every day too. It’s new to me, so how wonderful to read that you have been doing it for so long now. Encouraging for sure.

      I haven’t been writing at all for the past week or so. My daughter and grands were in for the 4th holiday, and I was busy!! It was fun tho. It reminds me of being a young Mom, and how glad I am that my daughter is such a good one herself.

      Thank you for your encouraging words!

  11. Great post! I also have been focusing more on learning to listen to God through just being quiet. It’s not easy! So many distractions. I have listened to the author Davis Bunn talk about learning to listen through his free devotional (audio and print) here: He encourages us to start small.. just a few minutes of stilling our mind to hear God speak. You might find it helpful, too. Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi Aneta! Thank you for the link here, that was so kind of you! Starting small is what I am all about. I still have to practice, practice. But I know that God appreciates my efforts, no matter what I think of them.

      It’s great to know that there are so many resources out there for people who want to cultivate prayer like this. So encouraging 🙂

      Blessings, and thanks again!

  12. Thank you for the mention, Ceil. What I love about my bike rides is how they always feel like an act of surrender to Him. There is no talking. Just Him revealing Himself to me as I go along. I’ve become addicted to that time together.
    Your post makes me ponder what I would say if I were to give an update on my One Word for the year.
    I smiled over your comment about a big-sized ego. I see that in myself more often than I’d like. I want less me and more listening to others . . . and always more and more of Him.
    Blessings to you.

    • Hi Beth! It’s a long year my friend. I am trying to be true to my word, but I can’t say I’m successful every day. I do try though. I think that’s what really matters.

      Oy, that ego!! It seeps so stealthily into the day, doesn’t it? Well, something else to keep tabs on. More room for the Lord, less for me. That sounds like a good plan.
      Blessings to you too. Thinking of you and praying for peace,

  13. Ceil; You nailed me! I have to look for times where I can exercise hope,(My 2014 word) Last year my word ws grace and I found grace everywhere I looked. I think I know why I haven’t seen hope in action. Grace comes from God, hope is something I have to exhibit.

    • Hi Cecelia! I think ‘hope’ is a wonderful word to think about this year. Good choice! I think with God’s grace, you will give back your hope. It’s not easy, especially with the world pushing us back, telling us so much is hopeless.

      I have to remember that I’m only a pilgrim here, my real home is in heaven. I hope in that. And I’ll pray that you see an increase in hope too…there’s plenty of year left to see it.

      Bless you!

  14. My word this year has been patience. I’ve needed to surrender a lot of control in order to learn about patience. It’s funny, Ceil. I’m very good at studying God’s Word, being quiet, and even being still in order to hear God’s voice, but once I’m ready to go, I’m not great at quieting my mind or waiting. It’s all about making things happen…very helpful in the business world, not so much in God’s dominion, ha.

    • Hi Kim! Oooh…good one. Maybe that should be my word for next year. I stink at that!!

      Isn’t it true that spiritual things are so different than worldly? As you say, business smarts and God smarts are two very different things. No wonder it’s so hard to be a pilgrim here!

      Hope you have a blessed afternoon 🙂

  15. I often have this feeling that when my mind does wander..I believe our Father just sits there and is patient with us..with one bended ear..I also know that he already knows what is in my heart..he just likes to hear us say it. Great post, Ceil..thank you so much for your kind words on my blog..Blessings

    • Hi Linda! I really like the image you are painting with the ‘bended ear.’ That is so caring and sweet. Love it! And I know what you mean by God already knowing what we ask, but wants to hear it. What a wonderful Father he is.

      Thank you for your kind words too. You are a great encouragement to me!

  16. I too, am a prayer “chatterer” so it is a good exercise for me to be still, wait, and listen. I also must consciously slow my mind down, for it seems to be on overdrive more often than not. I do not think this is the way we are to live all the time. So I appreciate this reminder and encouragement to surrender and be still. Thanks and blessings! )

    • Hi Karen! So you try Contemplative Prayer too? That’s wonderful! I can completely relate to your ‘overdrive’ mind. It’s amazing how much is speeding across our brains, isn’t it?

      I know we’ll get better at it with practice. I’ll never be perfect, but I’ll keep trying to get better.
      Thanks for visiting!

  17. What a great practice….to just be quiet and listen to HIM….instead of thinking I have a lot to tell Him (which He already knows anyway, right?)! And that ego problem….I have that disease, too!!! 😉

    • Hi Deb! It has been a great exercise for me, and I do see the benefits of grace. Being quiet is very hard for me, but I hope it will get easier with time.

      Oh yes, I do think the world revolves around me way too much. Sigh. More to work on!! I’m glad I have company though 🙂

  18. Ceil, I wish I was able to practice this more than I do but I have found great peace when I have been able to just shut my mouth and listen…NOT an easy feat! There have been many times when the enemy will place an ugly picture or thought in my brain and it can really be hard to shake! The only way for it to get out is to surrender all thoughts to Him, making no room for anything ugly. I have heard it said you cannot think more than one thought at a time. Awesome post, my friend!

    • Hi Debby! I have to commend you for trying to be still. It is hard! And I think it must be very powerful because we have to fight so much to get to peace. I think those ugly thoughts are put there to make you feel bad, and really distract…got to be the enemy, right? We have to keep trying. It will get easier as we get more practice.

      So glad you could relate to the struggle Debby. Holiness is not an easy road!

      Have a peaceful night,

  19. Dear Ceil,
    I can relate to that struggle to inner quiet before God…always worth it…but what a battle…and yes, I’m always being reminded it isn’t about me and always grateful for how gentle God is when He reminds me…yes, His kindness does lead to repentance as that verse in Romans says…blessings to you, my friend 🙂 I’m on the mend…just some sinus pressure but no fever and grateful 🙂

    • Hi Dolly! I’m so glad you are feeling better. Adults with fevers = no fun!

      I like the point you made about God being so gentle when he reminds us about our self interest. It’s never harsh, you are so right. Great addition to the post! Thank you.

      It is a war, but as you said, it’s always worth it.
      I hope you’ll have a restful night,

  20. I’m always, always encouraged when I read your posts about centering prayer. I still am participating in it as well, and I agree that it is harder than it sounds! There are times I might can go 30 seconds without a mindless distraction, but that’s probably my best time. ha. Nonetheless, I do find that I’m able to access that place of quietness more often and more quickly than in the past, so maybe that’s progress anyway.

    Surrendering twice. I like that! And yes, I think the Lord does, too. May God continue to bless you with this practice, Ceil. You’ve helped me for sure today!

    • Hi Lisa! I’m so glad you are sticking with it, because it’s not easy. Today it was so hard! I have good days and bad days, and I can totally relate to the 30 seconds. Sometimes I’ll open my eyes and look at my watch…and see it’s only been five minutes.

      I think knowing you can get there a little faster is really great! That is progress for sure. I hope to get to that point in the months ahead. You encourage me with your honesty and surrender, thank you!

      Have a restful night,

  21. It’s like as soon as we learn to surrender, God puts another invitation on the table for us to consider. And each one we say ‘yes’ to just draws us that much closer to His lovely presence.

    I’m grateful that He loves us enough not to give up on us …

    • Hi Linda! That’s a good way to look at it. How can see anything new if I don’t chuck the old stuff? Then I can do what he wants, and we work closer together. I like that image!

      I’m glad he is so patient with me too. The whole ‘quiet’ thing is not easy for me.
      Have a restful night!

  22. I guess I need to give this a try. You might have already guessed I’m afraid of what I might find next! Thanks, Ceil. I appreciate the humility. That’s the first thing we need to come into the presence of our Sovereign Father.

    • Hi Floyd! Oh, I think you will find a lot of love. A lot.

      And that ego thing? He gave me that insight so calmly and lovingly too. Not like a shaming, but definitely letting me know that I don’t understand everything. And I should let him be in charge.

      Thanks for your visit! Have a restful night,

  23. Oh to “be still and know” . I have one of those wandering minds that keeps going even when my mouth is silent. But when I surrender to His quiet is when I truly hear.

    • Hi Mindy! I think a ‘wandering mind’ is an occupational hazard in being human. But like you, if I can become still, the grace just flows. God is so good to us!

      Have a great Tuesday 🙂

  24. The sweetness of surrender is evident in your writing Ceil. Wouldn’t you agree the discipline of contemplative or centering prayer is all about deepening relationship? There’s nothing more important than that – it’s no wonder the enemy works so hard to distract and discourage us from doing it.
    Thank you for sharing your journey here. I’m challenged to find my “word” for the year too.

    • Hi Pat! Oh yes, I do think it’s all about relationship. I think that’s what prayer is…or at least should be. Not as a means to access the ‘gift machine’, but really getting to know the heart of God. I think you’re right about the distraction too. This type of prayer must be so powerful, that evil doesn’t want to see it succeed.

      Choosing a word for the year is challenging, but it’s fun too. I always knew I needed help with surrender, so it seemed like the perfect thing for me.

      Thank you for connecting with me on Twitter 🙂
      Have a great afternoon,

  25. Ceil, this post powerfully spoke to me. Yes, I am a chatterer in prayer, too. And often my prayers center around all the things I’m worried about. Thus, many prayers become entreaties for God to *fix* things. While I know that God doesn’t mind hearing me pray this way, for He indeed wants to hear ALL my life, sometimes I wonder if I start to sound like an old record. After all, I don’t want to hear from my kids only when they have problems!

    This year my word JOY has been a saga of wrestling out what it means in the midst of great stress and struggle. My little acronym for it, Jesus Only You, is accurate. But the “working out” of that concept has been hard.

    So, I love the idea of twice-surrendered prayer, and I am going to apply it to the worry rants that I bring to God. I am also going to spend more time in silent appreciation for all the beauty He has surrounded me with here in the mountains. Sometimes surrendering means surrendering the need to talk.


    (Sorry this was such a long comment! I think you touched something in me!)

    • Hi Sharon! You can write as much as you would like ANYTIME. No worries! Thank you for inspiring me with your word for the year. I know you’ve had a rough six months, and joy has been a struggle. But I think that’s why we pick those words…we don’t pick words that we already have conquered.

      Surrender is something I know I have to practice, practice, practice. Accomplishing it in prayer especially. It’s not easy, but worth the effort, just like joy.

      So happy that we are connected my friend. Have a great night,
      PS Say ‘hi’ to the mountain-sky stars for me 🙂

  26. Ceil, It is so hard to sit in silence with God. Your words ring with truth. I need to push myself to be still before Him. I’m a chatterer in general . . . quiet is never easy for me. Thank you for urging me to faithfully try again and again until the Lord can whisper and have my attention. Blessings to you.

    • Hi Deb! We sound like spiritual twins when it comes to being quiet. It is hard! God is not in the thunder or the storm, he is in the smallest breeze. Phew. I have a lot of work to do!

      Blessings to you too, and have a peaceful night,

  27. Ceil, it’s so true: it’s such a difficult thing to learn to be quiet and listen. I’m not a talkative person but it’s still difficult to practice turning off the noise. Another great post, Ceil! 😀

    • Hi Lynn! Thank you for your kind words Lynn. As you read, I am not all that great at quiet myself. Definitely a work in progress. But I’ll keep trying, and I know that God honors that.

      Have a peaceful night!

    • Hi Wanda! Isn’t that fun that your pastor was talking about surrender! I think it’s hard for everyone to give everything, even thoughts, back to the Lord. Well, it is for me anyway.

      I hope you will become attracted to this way of prayer, I think it’s very powerful. Without any obstacle, God can truly let the grace flow!

      Have a great day my friend,

  28. I loved this Ceil and I have to admit, I struggle with this kind of prayer. My brain is so active that unless I’m talking to God, I get mentally distracted or I fall asleep (eeek… can’t believe I shared that).

    You’ve reminded me of the importance of listening to God. I will need to pray and ask God to help me listen for the still small voice.

    Thank you for sharing.

    Wishing you a blessed day.

    • Hi Jennifer! It’s funny you should mention sleep. When I first tried Contemplative Prayer many years ago, I would ALWAYS fall asleep! And I didn’t have little ones then either. I guess I was just flat out tired.

      Don’t let that bother you, I think it gets better with time. God knows you have a busy house, and you are a busy Mommy. What better way to sleep but in the arms of the Lord? All the grace is still there for you.

      Thank you for visiting!

  29. Ah…. yes!! To be still… in His Presence… and wait… and listen. That is my intention so very often, and much like you- the thoughts banter in and create the barrier between His Voice and my heart.

    Thank you for this. My most powerful prayers are the silent ones… How can He speak to us, if we don’t listen? Today, I will listen.

    I am SO glad we have connected, my new friend!! What a blessing indeed. 🙂

    • Hi Chris! Thank you for your visit today!

      That is so great…you know that your power in prayer begins with your silence. Sigh. I’m only getting to that point now, and it’s still hard. And I like your sentence about not hearing if we are talking all the time. That was my point exactly.

      I’m glad too! I look forward to getting to know you better 🙂

  30. Hi Ceil,

    What a restful, relaxing cover photo up there with the strawberry drinks. 🙂

    I like the idea here to bring any distracting thought to God as I’m praying and striving to stay focused.

    Have a great week,
    Jennifer Dougan

    • Hi Jennifer! Thank you for your comment about the header. Doesn’t it just ‘scream’ summer?

      I liked Amy’s idea too, and I’m so glad that you can use it to help you stay focused. I can tell you it’s really helped me.

      Blessings on your week my friend!

  31. I’m so glad I stopped by here today … your post spoke volumes to me. I love the idea of centering prayer because like you, “I’m a bit of a chatterer when it comes to prayer.” My word for 2014 is “abiding” and I feel like this type of prayer – “the prayer of the quiet” while sitting at the feet of Jesus is probably the best way to abide!

    • Hi Jerralea! Thank you for your generous comment about the post today. I’m so glad you came by too!

      Oh yes, I believe being in the cloud of quiet with the Lord is the best way to ‘abide’. (That’s a great word. I haven’t heard anyone else choose it, have you?) I hope you’ll enjoy trying this type of prayer. Don’t worry if you get distracted, it happens all the time!

      Blessings to a fellow chatterer!

  32. Hello there! Such a good post. And thank you for featuring me as well. It is such an honor to spread God’s word through others and out blogs.

    Be still and know that I am God. Wow…. Yes, sometimes to be still is very hard indeed, but when we are still and we really have that silent ear, it’s amazing what God is telling us, showing us and revealing Himself to us. It is simply beautiful!

    I hope you have a BLESSED day, my friend!

    Hugs & Blessings,

    • Hi Amy! Oh my gosh girl, you have helped so many people! Your idea of giving the distraction to Jesus has really resonated with some of the commenters, and I know they will use your technique. I sure do, and it’s really helped me. THANK YOU!

      I like that phrase ‘silent ear’. Thats what it feels like. Great thought 🙂

      Hugs and blessings right back, and thank you again for your wonderful words,

  33. He is teaching me a similar thing with my word “rest.” I am so very aware of approaching any situation that’s anxious and resting in Jesus, amazing how details seem to come together!


    • Hi Mary! You are learning a lot this year with your word! That’s so wonderful. I like your choice too. It’s so easy to get busy, busy, busy and forget to take time to rest. So important!

      Hugs right back! So nice to see you tonight 🙂

  34. Loved reading this, Ceil. My word for 2014 is *intentional* and while I am making progress in some areas, not so much in others. But, as you say, we are only mid-year! There is still time! Have a blessed weekend!

    • Hi June! Thank you for your visit today!

      That’s a great word, good choice! It’s fun to read what people have chosen to frame their year. And thank goodness we have time, plenty more weeks to keep our eyes on the goal. And if we don’t make it? There’s next year too.

      Have a good weekend as well 🙂

  35. just getting to read this post and so glad I kept it to read. wow great comments too. I love Amy’s image of letting Jesus pray for that distraction. this whole post is one of my favorites. Thanks!

    • Hi Jean! I was really helped by Amy’s thoughts, and I was so happy to pass along her wisdom.

      Thank you for your visit, and commenting on two posts too. You are a generous blog friend!

      Have a good evening,

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