How do you begin a new year?
If you have spent some time in United Methodist congregations you might have used the prayer below during the first or second Sundays in January as a way to begin the new year. The prayer is part of the Covenant Renewal Service developed by John Wesley and has been used by Methodists in Britain regularly since 1755.
Steven Manskar says, "The Covenant prayer is jarring to the 21st century ear. Its language is antiquated. Its petitions are demanding."
He continues by saying, "The God to whom the Covenant Prayer is addressed is the God who is revealed in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The prayer is a description of what is required of people who take up Jesus’ challenge when he said, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23)."
So take a moment - either alone right now in the quiet of the morning or later with your whole family and recite this historic prayer as a reaffirmation of your covenant to serve God above all else this year.
A Covenant Prayer in the Wesleyan Tradition (UMH #607)
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 by 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. Amen.