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How to Practice Submission to God

I am going to get vulnerable for a second and open up about submission to God, something that I think a lot of people might feel afraid to talk about. Let’s face it — we live in a time where it just isn’t cool to be a Christian.

The Bible says that the righteous will walk the narrow path while the rest will take the wide path, and as much as the world tries to convince you otherwise, there really isn’t anything better than walking in faith hand-in-hand with the Lord. 

Submission to God requires work and practice on a daily basis. It’s important to take time every single day to practice submitting your will over to the care of God. Here are some different ways that a person can practice their submission to God based on my own personal and lived experiences.

What Does Submission to God Mean?

In the Bible, the concept of submitting to God is basically the act of placing oneself under the authority of God’s love and care. It’s an action that we as believers must practice in order to live with the freedom and grace that God has in store for us.

It’s also integral to the 12 steps — it’s step 3.

When we submit our will over to the care of God, we are giving our lives over to His power, control, and ultimate authority.

I was raised as a child around a lot of love, and I was introduced to Jesus from birth. My parents always took me to church, and we said prayers over our food and before bed.

I can remember as a young boy having what felt like an intimate relationship with God, and I would often spend my alone time frequently praying and talking to Him. I was always told that Jesus lived in my heart, and I fully believed that with every ounce of my soul. 

As I got older and experienced the world, a distance would start to grow between me and my conception of God, and by the time I was 19, I was addicted to drugs and had become I guess what you would call an “agnostic.”

I believed in a power greater than myself but no longer declared Jesus as my Lord and savior. My life began to get really scary as my addiction to drugs and alcohol became my new normal and my new God.

I won’t get into the details that would be the catalyst for the much-needed rock bottom that I would eventually hit. It wasn’t pretty.

I’m talking overdoses, being resuscitated in the ambulance, and riding to the psych ward in the cop car with handcuffs, and losing everything I had, except my life. 

The fact that I survived all of the near-fatal drug-induced nightmares that I did and never killed anyone while driving intoxicated was a miracle in itself that would bring me to my knees with humility. This would be the first real attempt in my adult life to seek submission to God.

Since then, 6 years have passed during my walk with Christ thus far. It hasn’t been perfect — far from it to be honest. 

One of the best pieces of advice I received early on in my walk was to start praying and asking God to reveal Himself to me in a way that I can understand. I strongly recommend praying that way if you are in a spot where you might feel a struggle when it comes to having faith.

There were people who were specifically placed in my life who had gone before me when it came to achieving lifelong recovery and walked in faith and stood in the light. There were men and women both who were put in my life who had exactly what I wanted.

I followed their suggestions and adapted them to my life and will go into a few ways that we can all practice submission to God, now that we have a better understanding of what it means and where I’m coming from when I say that. 

Gratitude Journaling Helps With Submission to God

One way to practice submission to God is through writing in what is called a gratitude journal every single day. The act of focusing on what we are grateful for is extremely powerful and can re-tune our frequency to the frequency of abundance. 

God wants us to focus on all of our blessings on a day-to-day basis, and by taking the time each morning or evening to get out our journal and put our pen to paper, that act alone is a form of submitting to God’s will.

So we are practicing submitting to His will by writing down at least 5 things that we are grateful for each day as well as why we are grateful for each specific thing.

I can personally say that I have been writing in a gratitude journal now for a few years. I used to feel depressed and seemed to always focus on negative things and negative circumstances.

I went to a treatment center, and we had to write in a gratitude journal every single morning and evening. We had to do at least 5, so that’s why I recommend writing down 5 reasons. 

The Bible says, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, his love endures forever.” (Psalm 136:1 NIV).

The heart of a Christian life is gratitude. That’s something that was said by a famous Christian mystic and 20th-century author by the name of Thomas Merton. He wrote, “Gratitude is, therefore, the heart of the solitary life, as it is the heart of the Christian life.” 

A mystic is a Christian who spends a lot of time in contemplative prayer, a style of meditation, and another form of practicing submission to God that we’ll get into later.

Thomas Merton spent much time in solitude and came to a deep realization of how much God had blessed him in his life.

Gratitude journaling also gives us a way to demonstrate that we have been paying attention to all of the different ways God blesses us on a daily basis. Especially the gift of grace that we have all received from Jesus Christ.

Practicing Meditation

There is nothing more powerful than taking the time each morning and evening to just sit and bask in God’s healing presence and love.

This particular style of meditation is what Thomas Merton practiced, and it allowed him to have deep mystical and prophetic revelations during his walk with Christ.

Jesus himself would spend hours and hours every day sitting in contemplative prayer. We see him doing this in the garden the night before he would be nailed to the cross and while all of his disciples lay asleep. 

Contemplative prayer starts with “centering prayer,” a meditative practice where you focus on a word or mantra and will repeat this word or mantra over and over and over again while you take deep inhales and exhales.

The best type of mantra would be a short prayer that you can repeat, such as the Lord’s prayer. Just memorize it if you need to. 

A powerful word you can repeat with each breath is something as simple and powerful as “Jesus.” I was taught to spend at least 20 minutes twice a day sitting in meditation. Set a timer and just lay down or sit in a comfortable position. 

You will want to make sure that you don’t fidget at all no matter what. That will get easier over time. I was taught to pray at the beginning and ask God to take me deep into his healing womb. 

You will have very powerful and healing experiences after doing this every day for a short period of time. There really isn’t a more powerful way to practice submission to God than contemplative prayer (meditation). 

There are so many other things you can do each day to practice submission to God. Something as simple as getting on your knees each morning to just pray and talk to God is another great act you can do.

If you can incorporate writing in a gratitude journal and praying and meditating each night and morning for 20 minutes, I can promise you that from my own personal experience that your life and your walk with Christ are going to radically change for the better.

How do you practice submission to God? I’d love to hear your experience in the comments.

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Ryan Henderson

Ryan Henderson is a magician and mental health advocate.