Tag Archives: Covenant Prayer

A Covenant Prayer

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.’

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Covenant Sunday

Today, many Methodist Churches mark Covenant Sunday

As the Methodist Church Website tells us,

Methodists hold an annual Covenant Service, at which we celebrate all that God has done for us, and affirm that we give our lives and choices to God.

The traditional Covenant prayer (shown below) makes it very clear that this affirmation is a serious one that embraces the whole of our life, in all its parts. Most people find it quite tough to say, and really mean it. But the prayer is so central to the Christian life that other Churches have also adopted it.

In our culture we tend to prize our ability to make decisions and choose our own path in life. It can feel very hard to give that up. But this prayer is like a love poem. It is about surrendering to God in love and joy.

These are powerful words, and my heart always makes an additional flutter, as in The Methodist Worship Book, the facing page has the Ordination Service.  I share them with you, if they make help you focus your new year on and through God

I am no longer my own but yours.
Put me to what you will,
rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing,
put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you,
or laid aside for you,
exalted for you,
or brought low for you;
let me be full,
let me be empty,
let me have all things,
let me have nothing:
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours.

All that I am, I give you

Today we shall be joining in a Covenant Service.

A covenant Service is an opportunity to hear again God’s commitment and covenant to us, and for us to make a commitment back.  I value it as an opportunity to put into words what it is that is going on between me and God.  All he gives to me, and to be able to say out loud what our relationship is about, and commit myself anew to him.

Covenant services can be awfully powerful.  They are also quite sobering.

This is the Covenant Prayer, as we offer ourselves to God:

‘I am no longer my own but yours.
Put me to what you will,
rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing,
put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you,
or laid aside for you,
exalted for you,
or brought low for you;
let me be full,
let me be empty,
let me have all things,
let me have nothing:
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours.’

Within all this is offered:

A new start if you need it; a new place of hope; an acceptance of how God might use us; a willingness to be what he asks of us.  We put ourselves along side God allowing and inviting him to do what he needs to.

scary stuff!

But how truly awesome that God would want to, and does use us in his ways.  And why?  Because he is ours, and we are his – what more do we need to know?  Who ever we are, wherever we are coming from, God accepts us and offers that we can be part of a relationship with him.  He loves us.  He wants us to let him love us.  And he has something he needs each one of us to do.

Will we join him?