Covenant Prayer in the Wesleyan Tradition

jwmonogram What do our children understand about covenant? About surrender? About sacrifice? What can they understand about living into who we are called to be as children of God? The Covenant Renewal Service, created by John Wesley in 1755 may seem a bit unapproachable for children. So how might we help children relate to self-examination, confession, and discipleship?

I would begin by engaging children in a conversation on what brought them the most joy in the past year (understanding that they will likely focus on what things that just happened). Ask them if there is something that they did that they might do differently next time. Talk to them about what it means to be a disciple. Read the Covenant Prayer to them, and then offer a few “I wonder” questions.

I wonder what it means to belong to God?
I wonder why it is important to sometimes be full and sometimes be empty?
I wonder what it means to have all things and to have nothing?

Expect to hear many different responses, but the goal here is to help children discern what discipleship means based on their knowledge and experiences. Their responses may help you plan future lessons on discipleship.

Covenant Prayer in the Wesleyan Tradition

I am no longer my own, but yours.
Put met 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.

Read more about Covenant Renewal

 

peace,
melanie

 

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Living the Covenant

 

How do we covenant with those new to faith?

How do we covenant with those new to faith?

It is always good to revisit this prayer from John Wesley each year.  There is a sense of beginnings and renewal in the world for those few suspended moments as we begin a new year. The task for us is keeping our commitments. How do we keep these commitments as followers, apprentices of Christ as leaders of the church? Discipleship has always come at a cost, and in this day and time of the 24-hour news cycle where we are no longer the holders of information, and where media and technology give each of us access to anything we can dream, discipleship becomes more difficult to live out and to share with those who are seeking. And more difficult for us as followers.

But Discipleship is a necessary way of living if we are to call ourselves followers of Jesus Christ. God is always creating a new thing in us. It is up to us to use the gifts that God gave us to live into and share God with one another. AND It is never too early.

Our children, at their youngest, are trying to figure out what to trust. Since they do not yet have the ability to speak or understand words, it is our actions that help them to know who loves them and who does not. We may say to an infant that we love him, but if we do not feed him, hold him, change him, cuddle him, laugh and play with him, soothe him when he is hurting, nor look into his eyes, then that baby knows we do not love him.

He seeks love and comfort wherever he can find it, just like those who walk through the doors of the church for the first time, or those we encounter in our work out in the community. Our covenant with God must go beyond words and planning meetings. It is our actions that speak the loudest. Let us, by our actions, live into our covenant with God.

 

peace,
melanie

Covenant Prayer in the Wesleyan Tradition

JohnWesley

I am no longer my own, but yours.

Put met 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.

-John Wesley

Learn more about this prayer from Steve Manskar.