Commending to Jesus
“Pastor, I’m just about to buy a newspaper up north. I’ve done all the due diligence and checked out the financials. I need you to pray with me before I make this decision.”
Of course my husband agreed and prayed for our member’s choice to be the right one and for the Lord Jesus to bless it. This was a privilege he enjoyed whenever our good friend needed that extra assurance. This man was a brilliant financier. He could have relied solely on his own expertise and experience. But he wanted something more. He was commending his plan to the Lord. He wanted to be sure it would prosper under the Lord’s care.
Praying before making a decision isn’t a new concept. But I know when I start with prayer before I even begin to formulate my ideas, I am infused with imagination and inspiration that I know come from my Lord Jesus.
But if prayer immobilizes you, it may cause you to miss God’s plan. Some people won’t make a decision, won’t move forward without a sign from God. Or they expect God to work everything out miraculously without any effort on their part.
My favorite example of this is Moses, who kept telling the Israelites to calm down because God was going to rescue them from the Egyptian army that was advancing on them, pushing them toward the Red Sea. He told them they didn’t have to do a thing. I like the Living Bible version of God’s orders: “Quit praying and get the people moving! Forward, march! Use your rod—hold it out over the water, and the sea will open up a path before you, and all the people of Israel shall walk through on dry ground!” (Exodus 14:15-16) Surely the Lord worked a miracle, but Moses wasn’t going to just pray his way through it.
I think of this often when I am making a decision, choosing which direction I should go, wondering if my ideas are going to work. I do pray, but sometimes I’m stuck in my own doubts or I’m just stalling. The Lord Jesus says to me, “Get off your knees and get going!”
But then come the concerns whether the decision is going to be blessed, watched over as the plans unfold. This is when I need to commend it to the Lord Jesus.
I’m not looking for praise or endorsement. I’m not asking the Lord to agree with my decision because I make such good choices. I’m not trying to convince Him that He should applaud me because I think it’s a great plan. That’s up to the Lord Jesus to do if He feels it is worthy (2 Corinthians 10:18).
No, this commending is about believing and trusting that my Lord will be there every step of the way, guiding the path, supporting me when I lean on His wisdom.
Commending isn’t a one-off prayer. It is a continual, daily handing over to the Lord Jesus our minutes, our hours, our days. Just like the believers when they sent Paul and Silas off, “commended to the grace of the Lord” (Acts 25:40), we entrust our lives and decisions to God’s grace and all that it entails.
It’s all about trust. If I am using my Lord Jesus as my example, the choice is clear. He trusted the plans of His Father for our salvation with His final words, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit” (Luke 23:46 J.B.Phillips NT).
This formal use of “commend” carries with it such depth of understanding and commitment. I use it to begin each day in Luther’s Morning Prayer: “For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul and all things.” I am entrusting all I am to the Lord Jesus, putting everything into His care and protection. When I carry that thought throughout the day, my decisions and plans aren’t as daunting.
With an entire year of plans and decisions ahead of us, not knowing where the road will lead, now is the time to begin our year with commitment and prayer.
And so, Lord Jesus, into Your hands we commend ourselves, our bodies and souls and all things. Please grant us Your inspiration, Your forgiving grace when we stray, and most of all joy in the many ways You will bless this year.
Leaving my guilt at the cross,
First published at Lead Like Jesus January 2021