A Covenant Prayer for a New Year

Below is the “Covenant Prayer in the Wesleyan Tradition” that we’ll be using in worship tomorrow (Sunday, January 2, 2022). I try to pray this prayer every day, but I think it’s especially appropriate at the start of a new year.

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 by 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 heartily yield all things 
to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, 
you are mine, and I am yours. So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
Let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.

Note: I don’t take the phrase “put me to suffering” to mean that God wants us to suffer or that God will force us to suffer. Instead, I see it as our affirmation that we are willing to suffer for the work of the kingdom. E.g., in the 1960s the civil rights movement involved a lot of suffering for a lot of faithful Christians. As Christians, we don’t seek suffering out, but we are willing to bear the suffering that falls on us as we seek to live out our faith.

To update the language to modern usage, I have substituted “yours” for “thine,” “you” for “thou,” etc. from the version of this prayer found in the United Methodist Hymnal (607)