The Covenant Prayer of John Wesley
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, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
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.
The Covenant Prayer was adapted by John Wesley for use in services for the Renewal of the Believer’s Covenant with God. While early Covenant Renewal services could be held in any season, now they are often celebrated at the beginning of the new year.
I find these words both beautiful and terrifying. If you take them seriously, they represent an amazing surrender of will which most of us find difficult to imagine, let alone desire. If God takes them seriously, then by speaking them we do something huge and irrevocable, and we must do it “freely and heartily.”
Yet the words of the Covenant Prayer are not words of defeat or despair; they are not words of subjugation. They are words of Love. The prayer that begins, “I am no longer my own, but thine” moves from the offering of self, whatever the requirements, to include this startling claim on God, “Thou art mine and I am thine.” The prayer articulates a covenant–a binding of ourselves to God and God to us. How dare we give ourselves away? How dare we make such a claim?