Wesleyan Covenant Prayer

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 by 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.

Amen.

Today I make this prayer my own.

Let me no longer waste my time

Almighty God, I adore Your infinite patience, which has not cut me off in the midst of my follies; I magnify Your wonderful goodness, which has spared me thus long. Let me no longer abuse that precious treasure–time, which you have allotted me as a proper season to work out my own salvation, and secure that happiness which is great in itself, and infinite in its duration.

Let me bid adieu to all those vain amusements, those trifling entertainments and sinful diversions, which have robbed me of many valuable hours, and endangered the loss of my immortal soul. Let me no longer waste my time in ease and pleasure, in unprofitable studies, and more unprofitable conversation; but grant, that, by diligence and honesty in my calling, by constancy and fervor in my devotions, by moderation and temperance in my enjoyments, by justice and charity in all my words and actions, and by keeping a conscience void of offence to God and man–I may be able to give a good account in the day of judgment, and be accepted in and through the merits of Jesus Christ, my only mediator and advocate.
Amen.

 (Hannah More, “The Book of Private Devotion”)

Oh altar

Oh altar, tell me of the day
When saints would tarry, weep and pray
When you were drenched with holy tears
As all the saints of God drew near

With trembling voice and longing heart
To seek their God, they drew apart
Laid down the trinkets and the toys
And rent their hearts to find His joy

Humbly and with brokenness
United hearts become a chorus
And having made a sweet confession
God, You see and send the blessing

But that was in another day
When saints would tarry, weep and pray
Oh altar, you have long been dry
Have we now no tears to cry?

Did we forget His saving grace?
No longer long to see His face?
Is there none in need of mercy
Or for His presence in this journey?

Oh God, have mercy in this day
Teach us to tarry, weep and pray

 

Agony

“And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly” – Luke 22:44

I love how in every aspect of the life of Jesus, we see a model of how to do things right.  As Jesus faces the ultimate conclusion of His time here on earth, He retreats into the garden of Gethsemane for some time in prayer.   How can we even imagine the intensity of what He felt in those moments?  And as the intensity of His agony increased, so did the intensity of His prayer.

I face some intense moments.  We all do.  Although they pale in comparison to what Jesus faced, they are still difficult.  Agony comes in a variety of flavors.

If I were to rewrite this verse to refer to myself, it would read something like this:

“and being in great agony, she raised her voice and complained.”
“and being in great agony, she became frustrated and hopeless.”
“and being in great agony, she felt distant from God and didn’t pray.”
“and being in great agony, she felt exceedingly sorry for herself.”
“and being in great agony, she pouted and felt that life had treated her very unfairly.”

I know that in my most difficult moments that I should run to God immediately, but often I don’t do that. 

A few moments to wallow in self-pity, a few moments to garner the sympathy of others, a few moments to determine how I’m going to fix things.  And the agony only increases and I am no closer to God.

How true are the words of this famous hymn:

O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
all because we do not carry
everything to God in prayer

Lord, in the various agonies of life, help me to immediately draw near to You.

Crushing

“So He told His disciples that a small boat should be kept ready for Him because of the multitude, lest they should crush Him.  For He healed many, so that as many as had afflictions pressed about Him to touch Him.”  Mark 3:9-10

Repeatedly in the gospels we read the accounts of Jesus being thronged or pressed by the crowds.  He gained quite a reputation as a miracle worker and there were many in Israel that needed a miracle.  Most places He went there were large crowds and all of them were trying to get near Him….because they needed something from Him.

Yes, we are very needy.  And God knows we are very needy.  He has promised to meet those needs and has told us we can come and ask.  What a wonderful privilege.  But our coming to Him is not restricted to presenting our needs.

I am learning to be wary in my life of this tendency to come to Jesus only when I have a need.  He is so much infinitely more than the One who meets my needs, but sometimes I lose sight of this.  The needs in my life, which often give me a new revelation of just how not in control I am, magnify my need for Him.  But my need for Him is never less just because life isn’t spinning chaotically out of control.

Oh God, please help me remember this…..

Many will press against Him to get their needs met, but who will press against Him only to know Him?  Whose need for His Presence is desperate enough that it drives them to pursue Him relentlessly and recklessly?

Lord, I want to be one of these.

Oh my brethren, let us pray

For the homeless widowed woman
Living on the streets today
Hoping just to find a meal
Oh my brethren, we must pray

For the lonely single mother
Living in despair and pain
Wondering if there’s something better
Oh my brethren, we must pray

For those bound by vile addictions
Trapped in a life that’s dark and vain
Damaged by the life they’ve chosen
Oh my brethren, we must pray

For the lost, who soon approach
The throne of God on judgment day
Unprepared, they’re doomed to hell
Oh my brethren, we must pray

For our own cold, calloused hearts
That see such things and walk away
Grieving Jesus by our hardness
Oh my brethren, we must pray

With tears and groanings, let us come
And seek the Lord without delay
With humbled hearts now drawing near
Oh my brethren, we must pray

Oh please Father, help us pray

The answered unprayer

Since the first time I read it, I have been fascinated by the story of Abraham interceding before the Lord for the city of Sodom.  It is amazing to me that God was willing to refrain from the judgment He intended to bring upon the city because of one man’s request.

I have recently read the story again and was newly amazed at a detail I had never noticed before.  Genesis 19:27-28 says:

“And Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the LORD. Then he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain; and he saw, and behold, the smoke of the land which went up like the smoke of a furnace. “

Abraham awakes to find that the Lord has indeed brought judgment to the cities.  What heartache he must have experienced at that moment, knowing that his nephew lived in that city.  But verse 29 tells us that “it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when He overthrew the cities in which Lot had dwelt.”

God answered the prayer that Abraham had not prayed.  He saw beyond Abraham’s words to the desire of his heart, which was for the safety of his nephew, Lot.  This brings me great comfort as I pray for those I love, so often fumbling for the right words in prayer.  But God knows the very longings of my heart and He hears them, many times, even more loudly than my words.

I don’t have to say it just right.  He knows.

God’s Whispers

When God seems silent could it be

That this is how He draws me near

And teaches me and trains my ear

To shut out the world and all it’s noise

And listen closely for His voice

 

When He speaks with thunderous sound

He has my attention then

But Oh! to hear Him when

He whispers

 

Be silent oh my soul and learn

In quiet and obscurity

To hear the Voice that speaks to me

For that sound my heart so yearns

Towards that Voice my ear does turn

 

Though waiting endlessly it seems

When just one word

From Him is heard

What joy!

 

His whispers – a delight to me

My God Oh may it ever be

That I may hear Your whispers