We have celebrated the birth of our Lord and Savior and the Hope, Peace, Joy and Love that comes with Christ! Now a new year is upon us, but each year runs the risk of being more of the same with no ‘newness’ or changes implemented. Christ came into this world so that it might be transformed – not stagnant! During this time in between Christmas and New Year’s Day, I want to encourage you to spend time in prayer on how 2011 might be different than 2010. In what areas has your life been stagnant and in need of transformation? How might you live your life more for Christ and less for yourself?
Some United Methodist churches practice a tradition of holding a “Covenant Renewal Service” on New Year’s Eve or Day in which they reaffirm their commitment to God and begin the new year with a reaffirmation of their faith. In the late 18th Century, after John Wesley conducted one of these services in London, he wrote of it in his diary, “I do not know that ever we had a greater blessing. Afterwards many desired to return thanks, either for a sense of pardon, for full salvation, or for a fresh manifestation of [God’s] graces, healing all their backslidings” (January 1, 1775).
At the heart of this service is the Wesley Covenant Prayer. During this week, you might take time memorizing this prayer and writing it on your heart. Perhaps you could spend each day this week reflecting on a different portion of the prayer while you search within your heart whether or not you are able to reaffirm your commitment to this covenant. At the end of the week, with this prayer memorized and with your heart in agreement with this covenant, you might lift this prayer up in its entirety on New Year’s Day as you make 2011 about living your life for Christ.
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.
– Pastor Michael Maroon