In addition to my daily prayer for 2014, in the past 4-5 months I’ve also come to find great daily benefit in John Wesley’s Covenant Prayer. It was designed by Wesley to help Methodist believers regularly renew their covenant relationship with God. I’ve expanded it a bit, to express what I’m learning and seeking (underlined portions are my additions). For resources on the original prayer, see the links at the end of this post.
Abba, I am no longer my own, but yours.
Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing, put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you, or laid aside for you,
exalted for you, or brought low for you;
For you Jesus,
let me be full, let me be empty,
let me have all things, let me have nothing:
For you Abba,
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal. I let it all loose.
And now, glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit – my habitation, sufficiency and joy,
you are mine and I am yours.
I am My Beloved’s, and He is mine.
So be it.
And the covenant now made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven.
There are two powerful ideas in this prayer that help me the most. The first is the focused practicality of the surrender being offered – “rank me with whom you will . . . put me to doing, put me to suffering,” and shockingly, “let me be employed for you, let me be laid aside for you.” This kind of surrender offends my ego and scandalizes our current Christian culture of affluence seeking. I don’t know very many leaders willing to pray things like this; perhaps that tells us something of the state of the church today? Such surrender can be offered “for Jesus.”
The second idea that grips my imagination is how the prayer ends by enfolding the will in the very center of the Trinitarian life. Abandonment to the sufficiency of the Trinity is at the heart of the Christian life. It is the Christian life, and it is what Jesus died to provide us. I’ve added “my habitation, sufficiency and joy” to help me see and experience this. Wesley’s covenant comes down to this: “you are mine and I am yours.” I am my Beloved’s and He is mine (Song of Solomon 2:16); this is what it means to walk with God day by day, and we can seek it and experience it. This is the good news.
“A Covenant With God,” from the The Methodist Church in Britain
a .pdf copy of the original text