“Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution or famine, or nakedness, or peril or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who love us. Or I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” –Romans 8:35, 37-39
On the first weekend of the January, we shared in saying John Wesley’s Covenant Prayer together in worship following the sacrament of Holy Communion. The prayer says:
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, Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer,
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.
In this New Year, I am using this prayer as part of my daily devotions. I am discovering that when taken in its fullness, this can be a tough prayer. I prefer only parts of the prayer. I can easily say ‘yes’ to praying, “Put me to doing…Let me be employed for thee…Exalted for thee…Let me be full…Let me have all things.” But, my hesitation comes in praying, “put me to suffering…laid aside for thee…brought low for thee…let me be empty…let me have nothing.” I am not always ready or willing to pray those words.
John Wesley, our founder of Methodism, has passed on a wonderful and challenging prayer and I am working on embracing the whole prayer. Similar to praying from the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy will be done…,” I am working to willingly pray, “I am no longer my own, but thine.”
Even in the midst of challenging days and a future that is often uncertain, may we have the confidence that whatever circumstances emerge in our lives, we will work to faithfully affirm, “I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal. And now, O glorious and blessed God, Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer, thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it.”