As we are beginning the new year, I’m mindful of a prayer that has impacted people across centuries and cultures.
It is called John’s Wesley’s covenant prayer. Wesley credited a 17th century Puritan clergyman with authorship but nonetheless he utilized it to great effect in the 18th century Wesleyan revival. In the ensuing years, many have picked up on its themes.
When facing life challenges in recent years, I decided to pray this prayer—a recitation that basically abandons oneself to God with every phrase of the entreaty—each night before going to bed:
O Lord my God, You have called me through Jesus Christ to be a partaker in this gracious covenant. I take upon myself with joy the yoke of obedience and engage myself for love of You to seek and do Your perfect will.
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. So be it.
May the covenant I’ve made this day on earth be sustained for all our days in this world and may it be ratified in heaven.
“Yield” is the key word for me. It suggests giving all away to God and relinquishing any pretense of right over personal destiny.
Saying a prayer like this over and over embeds the concept of submission in your psyche and acknowledges God’s sovereignty over the particulars of life.
I have come to realize that the best year of your life is far more likely when you yield yourself to the Almighty rather than aiming to excel at being the captain of your own soul.
It has certainly helped me.