Today many in The Methodist Church will be sharing in a Covenant Service. It’s almost like an annual renewal of marriage vows – with God.
As part of that, we will pray the Covenant Prayer – powerful, challenging stuff:
I am no longer my own but yours.
I have thrown my lot in with you Lord, It’s no longer about me, it’s about us. Who you are and what you are going to do in and through me. I’m not brilliant at living by myself, I need you and all you are. I’m not alone in this, but together with you.
Put me to what you will,
Now, I know I think that I know best much of the time. I have my agenda and I try and move things along by it. But if it’s not about me, I have to allow you to do what you will. I have to trust you. This is scary. You know I am a control freak. But so much that I know is coming I know I cannot do. So the only way is your way, holding tightly to you.
rank me with whom you will;
This is hard. I have such strong opinions. I know I am judgmental. And shy. But you call me to live alongside others. Those who may not be of my choosing, who find me difficult to be with, but we occupy the same space. Lord help me to learn from those who are not like me. May they smooth the rough edges of my life, show me more of you, more of life. Together may we be stronger for you.
put me to doing,
O Lord, you know how I love doing…
put me to suffering;
…and yet I can’t. That makes me suffer. I know you are with me always, but am I brave enough, strong enough to go through the pain and struggle that life holds. However hard and strong I seem, will I make it? But then that’s why we’re in it together.
let me be employed for you,
Lord, let me be used for you in the way you need for me. The particular way that you need me to be, the places I can go. I want to be used for you – widen my horizons to see and to go; even…
or laid aside for you,
so often this is how life feels. I am watching from the sidelines, viewing others doing what I long to be doing again. Sitting this game out. Lord, let that be OK. May I find something new, some new strength, some inner peace. May I stop fighting and be content to sit and wait.
exalted for you,
I’m not looking to be exalted Lord. I’m not interested in position or rank. If people see anything in me, I want them to see you – your purpose and your power.
or brought low for you;
But I guess I’m not very good at being lowly either. I like to think that I at least matter. So help me to see that my worth to you is what counts – not in what I do or achieve, not in any power I may think I have or ways that I think that I am better. Let me just be, what I am, what you ask of me – and be content in that.
let me be full,
Lord, I may think that I have little, am badly done to or struggle more than is fair; but in reality I have so much. May I find gratitude and remember hope and love…
let me be empty,
…and when I feel empty may I rest in you, allow you to pick me up. May I be empty of anything that holds me back, but not so hollow I fail to feel and love.
let me have all things,
let me have nothing:
Because everything I have comes from you. I do not deserve or have rights to anything, no more than every other person in this world.
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.
And that is so hard. Can I truly say that, or am I immediately thinking how I want you to work that out?! I have no idea what today, tomorrow, this year or the rest of life will hold; but I long to allow you to hold it, to take care of what needs caring for, to find solutions if they are needed, or help me to live with the questions and inconsistencies, the pain, the struggle, the fear – in and with you.
And now, glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours. So be it.
Thank you that I am yours, that you do hold me tight, care for me, carry me when I need it; go before and behind me.
And the covenant now made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven.’