The beginning of each new year is a time when I pause to do a “how is it with your soul” assessment. It is the opportunity to reflect on the precious gift of God’s grace and an opportunity “to start again” with a fresh slate by, along with God, erasing the past year’s hurts, failures and sins and to commit anew to realigning my priorities as I seek to be faithful in living into the journey of becoming the person God calls me to be.
Earlier this month, a blog by retired Bishop Kenneth Carder caught my attention. In the blog he talks about how the Covenant Prayer of John Wesley changed his life, indicating that the prayer exposed the limitation of his commitment and admission that he wanted the covenant on his terms.
It prompted me to look again more closely at the Covenant Prayer that many of us have prayed at a Watch Night service in our local church or at a Lay Servant training event. When I looked at it more carefully, I recognized that while I’ve prayed that many times, I hadn’t really taken time recently to carefully look at the words and consider what I was really committing myself to be and do. As I read the prayer more carefully, I found that like the bishop, I only wanted half of the prayer answered. After all, who among us wants to suffer? And yet, as I review my life, I recognize that I indeed have made a commitment and that because of that commitment, through all of the ups and downs of life, God has been there. In the times when it felt like my world was collapsing or I was in danger, there was always that small, quiet assurance: “I am here, it will be OK,” and so I took the next step and the next and the next – whatever they might be.
Thanks be to God for always being there and for the comforting assurance that no matter where, no matter what, God will be there in all that lies ahead and that together with God, all things are possible.
I invite you to also ask yourself the questions “How is it with my soul?” What is my gift? How am I called to serve this year? and to join me in praying the Covenant Prayer (see below) daily for the next 30 days. May we all strive to recommit our whole selves to the service of God.