There comes a time in the life of a “Christian” when one experiences their first act of pure self-giving. From this moment on, there is no retreat. Aroused by a new kind of love from within, you find yourself anxious to surmount all obstacles to your relationship with God. But still, you tend to get swept back to the people and things whose demands appear more pressing. 

This is when God appears, no longer hidden behinds these pressing matters … but in full light. God speaks so that you can hear. God asks that you receive him and that God be given first place in your life and your activities. 

Many times, when this happens to a committed “Christian” like you, the response is to run away, because it is known that God will ask for your total and unconditional self-giving. Even still, God will pursue you relentlessly (perhaps God is doing that now to you) until God gets the consent from you that will make your own life divine. 

The prayer below is about this “wrestling match” we have with God, and only those who have experienced it or are in it now, can understand the title: “Help Me to Say ‘Yes’.”  But first, some scripture to help put this prayer in deeper context.


Luke 1:28-32; 37-38

28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.

37 For no word from God will ever fail. 38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.


“Help Me to Say ‘Yes’”                                                                                                                                                        by Michael Quoist

I am afraid of saying “Yes,” Lord.                                                                                                                               Where will you take me?                                                                                                                                                         I am afraid of drawing the longer straw,                                                                                                                                      I am afraid of signing my name to an unread agreement,                                                                                                           I am afraid of the “yes” that entails other “yeses.” 

And yet I am not at peace.                                                                                                                                                     You pursue me, Lord, you besiege me.                                                                                                                       I seek out the din for fear of hearing you, but in a moment of silence you slip through.                                   I turn from the road, for I have caught sight of you, but at the end of the path you are there awaiting me. Where shall I hide? I meet you everywhere.                                                                                                                          Is it then impossible to escape you?

But I am afraid to say “Yes,” Lord.                                                                                                                                   I am afraid of putting my hand in yours, for you to hold on to it.                                                                                      I am afraid of meeting your eyes, for you can win me.                                                                                                  I am afraid of your demands, for you are a jealous God.                                                                                                I am hemmed in, yet I hide.                                                                                                                                                      I am captured, yet I struggle, and I fight knowing that I am defeated.                                                                      For you are the stronger, Lord, you own the world and you take it from me.                                                     When I stretch out my hand to catch hold of people and things, they vanish before my eyes.                             It’s no fun, Lord, I can’t keep anything for myself.                                                                                                        The flower I pick fades in my hands.                                                                                                                               My laugh freezes on my lips.                                                                                                                                             The waltz I dance leaves me restless and uneasy.                                                                                                       Everything seems empty,                                                                                                                                         Everything seems hollow,                                                                                                                                                    You have made a desert around me.                                                                                                                                            I am hungry and thirsty,                                                                                                                                                       And the whole world cannot satisfy me.  

And yet, I loved you, Lord; what have I done to you?                                                                                                     I worked for you: I gave myself for you.                                                                                                                     O great and terrible God,                                                                                                                                                    What more do you want?

God replies:                                                                                                                                                                             “I want more for you and for the world.                                                                                                                         Until now, you have planned your actions, but I have no need of them.                                                        You have asked for my approval, you have asked for my support,                                                                                  You have wanted to interest me in your work.                                                                                                                 But, don’t you see … that you were reversing the roles?                                                                                                         I have watched you, I have seen your good will,                                                                                                                And I want more than you, now.                                                                                                                                             You will no longer do your own works, but the will of your Father in heaven.”

“Say ‘yes’ …                                                                                                                                                                                   I need your ‘yes’ as I needed Mary’s ‘yes’ to come to earth.                                                                                            For it is I who must do your work,                                                                                                                                                It is I who must live in your family,                                                                                                                                           It is I who must be in your neighborhood, and not you.                                                                                                     For it is my look that penetrates, and not yours,                                                                                                             My words that carry weight, and not yours.                                                                                                                       My life that transforms, and not yours.                                                                                                                        Give all to me, abandon all to me.                                                                                                                                                      I need your ‘yes’ to be united with you and to come down to earth,                                                                                          I need your ‘yes’ to continue saving the world!”


O Lord, I am afraid of your demands, but who can resist you?                                                                                     That your Kingdom may come and not mine,                                                                                                                  That your will may be done and not mine,                                                                                                                       Help me to say “Yes.”

(Credit & Inspiration to Michael Quoist, from his book “Prayers”) 

Just for today, I am saying “Yes!” What about you?                                                                                                                                 Pastor Bob <><