The Prayer Coin
By Elisa Morgan
One Thursday afternoon, I headed out to Australia for a ministry trip, flying first to LA and then waiting some 5 hours during a delay. To bide the time, I chatted it up with my husband, Evan, back in Denver. He was to have accompanied me but surgery on his ankle about a month prior made the long flight unwise for him. Reluctantly, I boarded the flight to Melbourne, landing some 16 hours later to find a few messages from Evan on my phone: Call me and I'll give you an update on my leg.
I pulled my two-week sized rollaboard to the side of the arrivals hallway and dialed Evan. He answered, "I've had a little problem with my leg. I'm in ICU."
He was FINE when I left Denver and then when I left LA! In the 20 or so hours I'd been gone, he'd spiked a raging 103 degree fever and I was a million miles away with ministry on my plate.
My heart hit the linoleum floor of the Melbourne airport and from my soul-crumpled being, I reached out to God. Help came to me from an unexpected source. From a verse in scripture I'd been considering as a possible paradigm-shifting provision on prayer. (That's a lot of "p"s!)
In the intense hours in a garden the night before he went to die on a cross, Jesus prayed "Take this cup, yet not my will but yours be done" (Luke 22:42). Two specific prayers: First: Take this cup. Then: Not my will. Such a duality powerfully displayed in three of the gospel accounts, and mentioned in the fourth. Two sides of Jesus. Two sides of us. Two sides of prayer. The Prayer Coin.
When Jesus says, Take this cup, that's the honest side of the prayer. He reveals his own desire, "This is what I want."
Then Jesus flips the coin, praying, Not my will, the side of abandon. Abandon is saying to God, "But what do you want, God?"
Notice that in between the two sides of honest and abandon is the word "yet" which forms the edge of the coin - a pivot where we tip back and forth between each side, experiencing one side at a time: honest (what I want) - pivot - abandon (what do you want, God?).
Take this cup, yet not my will but yours be done.
The Prayer Coin.
Wow! This prayer is quoted more than any other prayer in the Bible. Yet ...(there's that pivot!), have I ever prayed it? For myself? For those I love? Have you?
Here - I'm holding out this Prayer Coin to you. Feel the weight of it as you turn it over and over in your palm. Honest. Abandon. Abandon. Honest.
Now, are you ready to try? This Prayer Coin that might just cash in a deeper faith for you?
First - be honest: What are you currently wanting, needing, desiring before God?
You look around at other women, happy in their Pintresty friendships and you wonder what's wrong with you. Take this cup of feeling excluded God.
Maybe you're concerned about your three-year-old. Is she using enough words? Take this cup of delayed speech God!
Your husband isn't very attentive - and you're wondering why you married him. Take this cup of a lukewarm marriage God!
And after you've poured out what's really in your heart ... try a pivot. Flip the prayer coin to the other side: abandon. What might you want for me Lord?
Abandon asks how far will you go to commit your wants, needs and desires to what God wants for you and your life?
Women around you may be just as lonely as you are. I'll go first and risk rejection in order to pursue friendship. Not my will God.
Your daughter may need testing - expensive testing. I'm willing to sacrifice my coffee money. Not my will, God.
Your husband may come from a family where affection was scarce. I'll reach out to him rather than insisting he change for me. Not my will God.
And then in each need, back again to honest. Then a pivot to abandon. Again and again, learning more about what you really want and what God wants as well.
Prayer is like a coin. One side is honest: the freedom to be ourselves in relationship with God. The other side is abandon: the calling to yield to his desires in our lives. We spend prayer best, like a coin, with the currency of both sides: honest and abandon. Pivoting from one to another.
As you do, you'll journey deeper in your relationship with God, who uses both sides of prayer to draw us closer to him, just as he did in a garden long ago with his Son.
Oh, and my husband? He's good. God gently nudged me to understand that he would use this health crisis in the lives of our adult children, raising them up to care for Evan in my absence. He used it in Evan's life, assuring my husband of his care. And he used it in my life, empowering me to serve where I had to be since no flight could return me to Evan in mere hours.
The prayer coin has since become a practice I pray on a daily basis, with honest and abandon, leaning in to the intimacy Jesus died to provide.
Elisa Morgan is an author and speaker and the cohost of Discover the Word and contributor to Our Daily Bread. Her latest book, The Prayer Coin, releases in July. Her other books include The Beauty of Broken, Hello, Beauty Full, and She Did What She Could. Connect with Elisa @elisa_morgan on Twitter, on Facebook and elisamorganauthor on Instagram.