Could eight words transform your life for God? Yes! They did for Jesus and they will for you if you pray them from your heart — and keep praying them.
Let me set the stage for these words of power and peace to live in you and I as they did in Jesus…
Remember that Jesus was tempted to sin in every way that we are and he experienced all the stresses and pains that we do — and far more besides — and he remained loving toward God and neighbor and always at peace (Hebrews 4:15). The Son of God was also the Son of Man and he had to “grow in grace” just like we do (Luke 2:40, 52; 1 Peter 3:8).
Contrary to popular belief, the key to Jesus’ holiness and success was not his giftedness or asserting himself to make things happen. No. Jesus said, “I only do what I see the Father doing” (John 5:19).
In all things Jesus submitted himself to the Father’s will. He pursued intimacy with the God he called “Papa.” He listed to God’s wisdom through sacred Scripture. He waited for his Father to show him what to do. He relied on the power of the Holy Spirit always.
If you and I want to be like Jesus then we need to do things in the way that Jesus did them — actively submitting ourselves to our Father in the heavens.
On the cross in his moment of most severe trial, greatest need, and most important opportunity Jesus prayed the eight words that change everything: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46).
Jesus borrowed this prayer of submission to God from David (Psalm 31:5) and adapted it by praying it to God as Father. Jesus was able to offer this prayer on the cross because it was already living in him.
This humble prayer defined Jesus — it was his attitude and demeanor always. For instance, we see Jesus’ submission to the Father in his setting aside the privileges of the Godhead to become human, the way he lived on earth as a servant for 33 years, his sacrificial death on the cross, and his sitting at the right hand of the Father in glory.
For Jesus’ prayer to transform your life you need to learn to pray it earnestly from your heart and apply it in all of your daily relationships and activities — each opportunity, each stress or challenge, each hurt and each blessing.
“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”
On the cross Jesus let go of everything and abandoned all outcomes to the Father. To help him do this he prayed a line from Psalm 31:5 to his Abba: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46).
This is a prayer of submission to God that expresses how Jesus lived everyday of his life (John 5:19). We can apply this little prayer to any situation in our lives with powerful effects.
For instance, Jesus’ prayer has helped me and many people overcome anxiety. Instead of worrying or trying to control how events turn out or what people think about us we can learn to put them in our Father’s loving hands and be at peace!
What stress do you need to turn over to God? Maybe it’s a financial problem, a conflict in a relationship, or a challenge you’re facing. Maybe it’s a burden for a loved one. Take a moment to identify this now…
Let it go! Release your concern to the Father. You can name the situation and put it into God’s hands by praying, “Father, into your hands I commit ______.”
You might try staying with this prayer for awhile: repeat it to yourself slowly to connect more deeply with your Heavenly Father. You want to pray the Scripture from your heart. (This is what it means to meditate on a Bible passage.)
It helps to imagine yourself in the situation of distress. (Or if you’re interceding for someone else you imagine the one you’re praying for and his or her circumstance.)
Then slowly repeat the prayer, “Father, into your hands I commit ______.”
You might find it comforting to relate to God from the child-like part of you on the inside (remember Jesus said, “Bring the little children to me,” Matthew 19:14) by praying, “Abba, into your hands I commit ______.”
You also can try breathing Jesus’ words in and out. Being intentional in this way will help you to be more still in your body and mind. It will help you to focus your thoughts and engage your heart with the Lord. It will help enable the life-giving words of God to live in you.
Breathe in: “Father…”
Hold your breath…
Breathe out: “…into your hands I commit ______.”
Make your rhythm of breathing in and out a prayer:
Breathe in the precious name, “Father…”
Hold onto his love for you…
Let go of control and worry: “…into your hands I commit _____.”
Why abide in prayer? Why use a Breath Prayer rhythm?
You’re participating in a deep work of the Holy Spirit. You’re…
The Father’s love was enough for Jesus on the cross and it is enough for us in our trials!
You can use your Breath Prayer to help you stay in conscious contact with God throughout the day, to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). As often as you can remember breathe your little prayer.
Have fun with it! See how often you can remember to set your mind on your Heavenly Father’s love for you and the people around you.