Editor's note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Jennie Allen's new book, Anything: The Prayer That Unlocked My God and My Soul (Thomas Nelson, 2012).

There's a big difference between knowing facts about God and knowing God personally. You can spend your whole life learning information about God yet still not experience Him as real. But a surefire way to experience the reality of God’s presence with you is to follow wherever He leads you without holding anything back.

If you’re willing to do anything for God – no matter what risks are involved – everything in your life can change for the better.

Here’s how you can surrender your life completely to God and find blessings in return:

Pray a prayer of surrender. Start your adventure with an important prayer surrendering every part of your life to the God who has planned good purposes for you to fulfill. Ask God to show you how real He is as you take the risks necessary to live in complete obedience to His will for you. Look forward to God leading and changing you in amazing ways going forward.

Face the reality of your sin. Although people like to think we’re good, we bump up against the reality of our selfish sinfulness every day in this fallen world. Be honest about the fact that you’re a sinner in need of God’s grace through a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.

Let go of shame. Let your sin show you how much you need God, but don’t let it trap you. Rather than getting stuck in shame, realize that there’s no condemnation in Christ and let that freedom propel you closer to God. Confess and repent of your sins when you think of them, and accept God’s gifts of forgiveness and help to make better choices.

Live to please God, not other people. God loves you completely and longs for you to devote yourself wholeheartedly to Him. So stop turning to other people for approval and fulfillment and look for those qualities from the only source who will truly satisfy you: God. Ask God to change your desires to reflect His desires, so that you will want to pursue what He wants for you.

Let go of a sense of entitlement. You won’t be free to follow God anywhere He leads you if you’re living a carefully planned life, pursuing things you think you’re entitled to have. Also, chasing after the blessings you’d like can divert your focus so much that God’s gifts begin to replace God Himself in your life. So give up your sense of entitlement and invite God to bless you however He sees fit, trusting that doing so will lead to a better life than you can imagine on your own.

Let go of efforts to control. Everyone has images in their minds of how we would like our lives to be. But as much as we’d like to design the lives we want, it’s God who designs our lives – often in unexpected ways. Instead of trying to convince God to give you what you want, ask God to help you trust Him to do what’s best in every area of your life (from your relationships with family and friends, to your health and your work). Invite God to do whatever He wants to do with all you have.

Make decisions with an eternal perspective. During each day that God gives you to live in this world, keep heaven on your mind, realizing that your time here is limited and it’s vital to use your time well. Ask God to help you focus on what has eternal value and make decisions about how to use your time in light of an eternal perspective.