One Life-Changing Prayer for When You Desire Control

I watched him climb the 2-foot retaining wall at the park, his legs pushing his stocky frame upward with determination. As he stood on the makeshift balance beam, arms stretched out wide, my mom instincts kicked into high gear.

I rushed to hold my five-year-old’s hand, helping him make it safely to the end of the wall.

I remember hearing my husband chuckle, watching me offer support that wasn’t even needed. “The wall’s only 2-feet high,” he said. “What’s the worst that could happen?” Because he knew this wasn’t the only time I ran to my son’s rescue.

I adored my God-given calling to be this boy’s mom. Loving him, caring for him, protecting him - it was my greatest joy. But in my zeal to keep him safe from harm, was I controlling too much?


My husband knew something I had yet to learn. If I didn’t let him try on his own, he wouldn’t know how to fall. I needed to let go.


The Hard Truth About Control


Parenting isn’t the only place I crave control.

Whether it’s controlling my circumstances, plans, or other people, it’s easy for me to excuse away controlling habits as part of my nature. I’m tempted to say, “That’s just who I am. A go-getter. An organizer. Someone who takes charge.”


But that wouldn’t be the truth behind my inability to let go.


Control is revealed in Scripture in Genesis chapter 3, when Eve and Adam faced consequences for eating the fruit God told them not to eat. God then spoke to Eve and said:

“And you will desire to control your husband…” (Gen. 3:16 NIV).

Could it be that the struggle with our need to control began when sin entered the world? One thing is certain. When I look behind the mask of control, I reveal hidden insecurities deep within myself. Things like fear, worry, and the desire to feel needed.


In reality, my desire to control is just an effort to prevent bad news from happening. I try and try until I'm out of options. If nothing works, then I turn to God as a last resort instead of my first choice.

“They (the righteous) will have no fear of bad news. Their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.” Psalm 112:7 NIV

Things won’t always be pretty and pleasant, but we can walk through with the assurance that God is with us, and He knows best. Bad things will happen, but the verse above gives us hope today. We do not have to let fear or worry drive us to try and control the situation. We can turn our hearts toward God and trust the outcome to Him.


A Prayer for Giving Control to God


I may have prevented a scraped knee or twisted ankle all those years ago, but now that my child’s a young adult, the walls of life are higher. The risks - greater. With every decision he makes, thoughts of the wall come flooding back. But instead of rushing to hold his hand this time, I see God sitting there a safe distance away, just watching. My job is to stand back and pray.

If you’re struggling to release control today, here is a life-changing prayer that will help us. Let’s pray this prayer every time we desire to take control.


Lord, as I face the day's challenges, You will be my first choice instead of my last resort. (Tweet this.)

Remembering to give our problems to Him first will remove the fear, worry, and insecurity from our hearts and replace them with trust, peace, and rest. May we keep steadfast hearts focused on our Heavenly Father today.


For more encouragement on this topic, visit to read Help When You Need to Surrender Control by my friend Betsy De Cruz. You will be blessed by the wisdom she shares.





Hope for the Woman Who Likes to Be in Control

The stench hit in waves when we walked through the front door. I can’t quite describe it, but trust me. It was bad. The waves grew stronger as we moved closer to the kitchen.


What on earth could cause such a rancid smell?


We searched the house. We deep cleaned. We asked for advice, even though it was totally embarrassing asking about possible sources for a nasty smell in our house, and how to get rid of it.


Through our top-notch detective work, we finally concluded the smell must be coming from a poor critter who somehow got inside our walls. We live near a lake, so it isn’t unusual to see frequent visitors such as mice, squirrels, snakes, and more. Unfortunately, one such visitor must’ve found a way in and gotten trapped.


There are a few problems that arise when this happens. Number one: finding the critter. Number two: figuring out how to get it out. Number three: finding where it got in, so it doesn’t happen again.


With the help of professionals, we checked one and two off our list. Number three proved to be a huge problem that persisted for months and months. No matter how hard we tried, we could not find where they were getting in, which resulted in more stinks, more money, and more frustration.


It became a joke among family and friends. We’d never heard of anyone having such problems with dead critters! Let’s just say family get-togethers for sure weren’t happening at our house. But even though I tried to keep a light-hearted attitude about it, my patience wore thin. I was determined to solve this problem, but it was beyond my grasp.



I felt like I was fighting nature, and nature was winning. Finally I threw my hands in the air and thought, “Forget it. I can’t figure it out. I’ll just live with a stinky house forever!”


I decided to let go of control because I’d become exhausted by my efforts.


Which is exactly what I needed to do all along - let go of control.



Why do we like to be in control?


There are many reasons why we get caught in the control trap. We may feel a deep sense of satisfaction from being needed or valued. Control can also provide temporary relief when we face uncertainty. We feel like if we keep control of our situation, we won’t have to ask ourselves all those what-if questions. What if it doesn’t turn out the way I expected? What if something bad happens?


I know I’m supposed to give my problems to God and trust Him with the answers. I love the message in 1 Peter 5:7, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (NIV) Yet when it comes to my daily life, I still struggle to turn it over to Him. I feel like my way will work best, and I forget the most important truth.


Whatever the reason we like to be in control, we have hope today. Hope for when that cycle of control results in ugly things like frustration, overwhelm, and burnout.


A verse to remember when I'm caught in the control trap.


“Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things.” 1 Chronicles 29:11 NLT



When we're tempted to take control, let's remember this. God is over ALL  things. (Tweet this.)


Reading the verse above makes me think of miracle stories in the Bible when God showed Himself powerful and sovereign in the lives of His people. Times like when He parted the Red Sea, when the walls of Jericho came down, and when Sarah became pregnant in her old age.


But God’s greatness, power, glory, victory, and majesty apply to my everyday life too. Not just the big things, but the not-so-exciting moments as well. (Even stinky critter moments.) Remembering that God is over ALL things in our lives helps us cast our cares on Him, knowing He is the one in control.


I stopped worrying about rodents in the walls. Instead, I chose to focus on God’s goodness. I praised Him for our home, which I’d forgotten to do in the midst of the chaos. And you know what? The problem ended. No more stink.


We don’t know how it happened, but we don’t need to know. This is God’s kingdom, and everything in it belongs to Him. When we remind ourselves of His sovereignty in our lives, we begin our journey of letting Him have control.





Thank you for joining me for our new series on CONTROL. To make sure you don't miss a post in this 4-part series, you can subscribe here and receive your free gift, One-Sentence Prayers for Letting Go of Frustration