The Invitation: I tried to listen to the Lord—about whatever was on His mind. But even though I was sitting down, my mind was busy, as if it had turned into a playground for thoughts. They were racing, taunting, and jumping around. I pictured myself nestling up close to Jesus, determined to listen. He knew what was going on and calmly invited me to do a handoff. A handoff? Sounded like football to me. I looked it up.
Handoff–hand·off/noun: an exchange made by handing the ball to a teammate; to relinquish
—Oxford English Dictionary
“Handoff implies an interaction between two people with a common goal.
Also, handing off often means the other person is going to do something with the object.”
I sensed Jesus telling me I had hopes and hard things that were blocking my capacity to listen to Him. The hopes were things that were out of my control, and when they popped into my mind, a simple prayer would still their voices. I chose to pray “Giver of Life, Your kingdom come” when my dreams or desires tempted me to take things into my own hands. The prayer was a handoff or relinquishment to the Lord.
The hard things? They were tasks that are necessary but no fun, making complicated decisions and plans, the details of life, etc. I made a list of all those things and handed it off to Jesus in prayer. I don’t expect Him to do them for me, but He will manage the list and even go before me—leading me to what is the most important for today and encouraging me along the way.
Circumstances hadn’t changed, but my mind had free space. I could listen to the Lord, and I realized that handing off hopes and hard things allowed me to take on God’s perspective and heart. It also allowed God’s hand to be at work in circumstances beyond my reach.
Therefore…let us strip off every weight that slows us down,
especially the sin that so easily trips us up.
And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.
—Hebrews 12:1 (NLT)
Your Response: (Pray) Lord, I don’t want anything to get in the way of being able to hear Your voice. I give You permission to strip off things that block me or slow me down from being available to You. You are the One who sets good things before me and shows me the way.
Lord, when hopes come into my mind that I can’t make happen, what words do I pray to hand them off to You?
(Listen and write down what you hear. Then practice using this prayer; sense the difference it makes.)
Lord, bring to mind all the hard things on my mental to-do list.
(Listen and write them down in any order.)
I handoff the list to You, Lord. (Picture yourself doing so in prayer.)
Thank you for showing me what I’m to do in the next hour or day, and how You want to help me complete the tasks.
Now, Lord, I’m ready to listen. What’s on Your heart?
And the LORD came and called as before, “Samuel! Samuel!”
And Samuel replied, “Speak, your servant is listening.”
—1 Samuel 3:10 (NLT)