Regnum Christi

Hope for Control Freaks: Two Biblical Images to Help You Surrender in Prayer

Hope for Control Freaks: Two Biblical Images to Help You Surrender in Prayer
Hope for Control Freaks: Two Biblical Images to Help You Surrender in Prayer

There are a lot of words I might use to describe my approach to prayer over the years. Sometimes I’ve been faithful and persevering. Sometimes I’ve been unfocused and fickle.

I’ve been sometimes devoted, often demanding, occasionally attentive, and frequently distracted. But in general, if I had to choose one word to describe my past attitude towards prayer, I would say it was purposeful.


Purposeful prayer does not initially sound like a bad thing. Purposeful prayer sounds persistent and decisive; it’s prayer that knows what it wants and strives to attain it. And this was precisely the problem. I was approaching God in prayer with both the problem and the solution, and reading the Gospel already knowing the message I wanted (and thought I needed) to hear. It was as though my prayer was simply me saying “Here’s the situation, God, and here’s how I think You should handle it”. Or “Don’t worry, God, I’ve got this. You just sit there and listen.”


The trick is: how do I approach prayer with less self-driven purpose, setting aside all my presumptions about what I think I need and what I think God wants to say to me, and instead come to prayer with an attitude of surrender? 


Because I’m a visual person, images often give me inspiration, provide something on which to center my thoughts, and help me to focus. Here are two images that I call to mind in order to help me surrender in prayer. If you’re someone who likes to be in control of everything, including your relationship with God, they might help you take first steps to letting go:


The Lifted Lamb


“For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand. O that today you would hearken to His voice, harden not your hearts!” Psalm 95:7


One of my favourite images of surrender to God is the lost lamb. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus tells us the parable of the shepherd who, having lost one of his sheep, will leave the ninety-nine to go after the one that is lost, until he finds it. “And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.” 


The little lost sheep does nothing in this parable. He does not actively seek his shepherd; he is merely found. And when he is found, he does not even actively follow the shepherd on his own; he merely allows himself to be lifted up onto the shoulders of the shepherd, to be carried. The sheep does nothing but consent to be lifted up.


I realized that I was approaching prayer as the one doing all the seeking, all the leading, and, most importantly, all the talking. The first change I made in my prayer life was to be quiet. The image of the lost lamb – sought, found, and lifted up – helped me to approach prayer with an attitude of silence instead of speaking, of trusting God enough to know that I don’t have to scramble to make myself, my concerns, and my intentions known. In silence, I consent to stop leading, and instead allow myself to be found and lifted up by God.


The Melted Wax 


“Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm.” Song of Songs 8:6

As I was reading The Interior Castle, St. Teresa of Avila provided me with another image with which to open my prayer: the melted seal. Teresa uses this metaphor to describe the ideal state of the soul in regard to God’s will: we are to be like wax when a seal is impressed upon it. The wax does not impress itself with the seal, she explains, but is merely soft. And the wax doesn’t even soften itself; “it merely remains quiet and consenting.” 


Imagining myself as wax, willing to be softened of my hardened habits, and prepared to be impressed with His seal is another helpful tool in learning to surrender myself in prayer, and ultimately to God’s will. “All You want is our will,” says St. Teresa, “and ask that Thy wax may offer no impediment.”


Instead of approaching prayer with a set of problems (and possible solutions from which God may choose!), I tried simply to soften myself to His will, and set aside my need to control both my life, and my prayer. While I’d love to come away from prayer each day feeling like all my problems will get solved if I follow a precise God-given, Spirit-inspired action plan, I’ve finally realized that that’s not the point. Prayer isn’t about gaining control of my day, my life, and my soul. It’s about surrendering that control to a God Who will do a much better job of it all anyways.

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Alex Kucera


Alex Kucera has lived in Atlanta, GA, for the last 46 years. He is one of 9 children, married to his wife Karmen, and has 3 girls, one grandson, and a granddaughter on the way. Alex joined Regnum Christi in 2007. Out of the gate, he joined the Helping Hands Medical Missions apostolate and is still participating today with the Ghana Friendship Mission.

In 2009, Alex was asked to be the Atlanta RC Renewal Coordinator for the Atlanta Locality to help the RC members with the RC renewal process. Alex became a Group Leader in 2012 for four of the Atlanta Men’s Section Teams and continues today. Running in parallel, in 2013, Alex became a Team Leader and shepherded a large team of good men.

Alex was honored to be the Atlanta Mission Coordinator between 2010 to 2022 (12 years), coordinating 5-8 Holy Week Mission teams across Georgia. He also created and coordinated missions at a parish in Athens, GA, for 9 years. Alex continues to coordinate Holy Week Missions, Advent Missions, and Monthly missions at Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Cumming, GA.

From 2016 to 2022, Alex also served as the Men’s Section Assistant in Atlanta. He loved working with the Men’s Section Director, the Legionaries, Consecrated, and Women’s Section leadership teams.

Alex is exceptionally grateful to the Legionaries, Consecrated, and many RC members who he’s journeyed shoulder to shoulder, growing his relationship with Christ and others along the way. He knows that there is only one way, that’s Christ’s Way, with others!