My friend, Elisa Morgan, is a gifted writer, speaker and founder of MOPS. She recently slipped a special book into my hands called The Prayer Coin along with an actual coin. One side read, “Honest,” and the other, “Abandon.”
At first, I didn’t understand. Praying with a coin seemed strange, but as I read through her book, my eyes and heart were opened to what it means to pray with surrender.
I’ve asked Elisa to share a pinch of her beautiful story and what this kind of surrendered prayer looks like in her own life. I hope you enjoy.
“My phone binged in a message and ever-ready-me retrieved it immediately. I wasn’t expecting to read the message from a dear friend about her husband’s health ordeal: “It’s back. The cancer is back.”
My throat tightened around possible responses, some four-lettered, others more yielded but none seemed appropriate to the weight of this revelation.
I’ve been learning to apply a prayer practice that I discovered in reading Jesus’ one-sentence plea, uttered repeatedly on the night before he went to the cross: “…take this cup, yet not my will but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).
How could Jesus pray two opposite requests in a single sentence?
Over and over again. Take this cup: This is what I want God. Not my will: But what do YOU want? Honest. Abandon. Two sides of Jesus. Two sides of prayer. The prayer coin.
I first stumbled upon this practice of prayer when my own husband was suffering with ill health. God challenged me to trust him with my honest and yet yield my abandon to him as well.
I dared to tell God exactly what I wanted: Heal my husband! And then I gathered the courage to ask what God might want – and sensed him nudging me to trust him that he would use the crisis in the lives of our family members, and in mine as well.
That led to more honest prayers which pivoted me to more abandon.
Over days and then weeks and then months, I moved between the two sides of prayer and found God meeting me in new levels of relationship. Prayer became more of a conversation with my Helper and my Hope.
Be clear – the prayer coin is not a formula that (poof!) brings about our desires.
Rather, minted in the garden of grief on Jesus’ last night on earth, the prayer coin is a practice that yields intimacy. The intimacy with God that Jesus died to provide.
I’ve prayed the prayer coin for the yearnings of my heart, for family challenges and for decisions large and small.
At times I find it easy to pray “honest,” pouring my raw feelings out to God. In other moments, I smoothly pivot into “abandon” as I have no idea how to pray and welcome God’s leading.
Admittedly, I can lean honest 24/7 and have to let the coin nudge me into abandon so that I don’t miss God’s offering to me in that posture.
In this unwanted moment of crisis with my friend’s diagnosis, I struggled: how to pray now?
Take this cup: Take the ridiculous cancer. Take the continuing diminishment of such a beautiful man. Take the stress and strain on his faithful wife. Take the struggle of uncertainty and shock for his precious children.
Not my will: If healing isn’t to be accomplished in my timeline and according to my desires, may it be ultimate and complete. May this family find complete peace in you.
Take this cup: Of suffering. For each one of these family members.
Not my will: May each minute of suffering give them more sustenance – the kind that only comes by being intimate with you.
As I typed my messaged two-sided prayers in response, I dared to spend the currency of the prayer coin:
Today my friends continue their uncertain journey, seeking answers and hope and the intimacy that comes from spending both sides of the prayer coin: honest and abandon.
What is your prayer concern today?
Might you pick up Jesus’ two-sided prayer coin and risk telling God exactly what you want?
And then, might you turn to the second side and dare to ask God what he wants?
A two-sided prayer modeled for us on the night before Jesus went to the cross to endure the ultimate sacrifice that would buy us true intimacy with God.
Elisa Morgan is the cohost of Discover the Word and contributor to Our Daily Bread. Connect with Elisa at www.elisamorgan.com, @elisa_morgan on Twitter, and elisamorganauthor on Facebook and Instagram.