I trust you had a safe holiday celebration for New Year's Eve. Our was quiet, warm, and filled with snoozing.
It is New Year's Day 2011! A day for football, catching up, and being a bit dazed by the fact that another year has come and gone.
It is also a day of reflection. A day of remembrance. And a day of commitment. Our Methodist founder, John Wesley, was a man of many traditions. He had patterns of life that became famous. He was filled with 'methods' for moving forward in his faith journey.
One of his famous methods is contained in his celebrated Covenant Prayer. He wrote it in 1738 and used it at various times throughout the year. However, as the Methodist movement gained ground, the Covenant Prayer began to be seen as a way of renewing personal faith commitments at the start of a New Year.
It was used in worship and in personal devotions as a plan for continued growth and dedication to God. The prayer goes like this:
I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee,
exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
thou art mine, and I am thine.
So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven.
Those words have shaped my life over and over again. It is a prayer that has been used by thousands of believers to reestablish a fresh relationship with God and to renew a covenant of servant leadership.
I wonder if you would be willing to pray it with me today and on into the New Year? Read it over, think through the different sections, reflect on the depth of commitment it calls for, and then pray it with the confidence of a Child of God. Let the prayer be yours as you offer yourself to God once again.
2011 promises to be a wonderful year! Peace to you all!