Wednesday Devotional: Will You Start Your Year with this Tough Prayer?
Matthew 6: 10
I have a series of lessons I deliver called "Tough Prayers." Maybe they will become a podcast series. The point of the series is that there are famous prayers that we may recite, but do we truly want to live them?
One of those prayers is the Wesleyan Covenant Prayer. John Wesley, founder of Methodism, wrote the prayer and had his congregations recite it on New Year's Day or thereabouts. It is as tough a prayer as you'll find, because it challenges you to rethink your relationship with God and your dedication to God. Read through it and see if you can wholeheartedly pray this prayer.
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.
I imagine most of us prefer being employed, exalted, full, and having all things, compared to the alternatives!
Robert Schnase wrote this in analyzing the Wesleyan Covenant Prayer:
Imagine what this really means, and how our lives would be different if we lived accordingly. This means that we’re not the center of the universe—God is—and so maybe we need to stop asking God to do for us what God created us to do for God! What we like, desire, appreciate, and enjoy, and what we find most convenient, affirming of our own ideas, and comfortable—these are not the ultimate and essential measure of right living or of what is good and acceptable and perfect.
I have to admit to praying for what I want most of the time, for my view of the way things should happen, for avoiding suffering wherever possible rather than engaging with it. This is human nature and human will. But our desire should be for God's will, whatever it is. Jesus proposed this succinctly in another tough prayer, the Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6: 10):
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
As you begin 2023, I challenge you to consider the Wesleyan Covenant Prayer and whether you can sincerely pray it. What would it take for you to pray this prayer? Would God want you to pray it? How would your life and your soul change if you did?
I've been promising that my new book, "Live Like You're Loved," would be out soon. That time is here! The book is now available on CecilTaylorMinistries.com, BarnesAndNoble.com, Google Books, and Dove Christian Publishers at https://www.dovechristianpublishers.com/catalog/new-releases/ . Please visit my website to learn more about the book and the video series of the same name. The book is intended for individuals and small groups, while the videos are primarily intended for small groups.