John Wesley's Covenant Prayer
Sunday 3rd January will be our first Sabbath worship of the new year. During that time, I shall invite the congregation to say with me the Covenant Prayer used by John Wesley and the early Methodists. He in turn adapted it from a great puritan writer.
The New Year Prayer
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.
Let me be full, let me be empty,
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
You are mine and I am Yours.
So be it.
And the covenant made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven.
Adapted by John Wesley in 1755, from the Puritan, Richard Alleine
This prayer of dedication means much to me. A few years ago, I was an elder in a church preaching weekly. Circumstances were such that I resigned, and I found myself out on a limb. Few pulpits were open to me and I felt my calling and skills in leadership were being wasted. It was almost as though I felt God and His kingdom needed me. Of course I am not needed by God. I was attending worship at Heysham Free Methodist Church one January five years ago when the congregation used this prayer. I was struck by that line Let me be employed for You or laid aside for You. I understood that subjecting oneself to God's will is not just being available for service; rather, it's being available to do nothing. He's in charge, He's the leader, He's the One who manages his personnel. 'Let Thy will be done' is not our offering to do this, that or the other for the Lord. It's to let Him call the shots.