Devotions / Oct 26, 2016
A Spiritual Resolution
Did you know that new year resolutions date back as far as the Babylonians? Upon the start of a new year the Babylonians would make promises to their gods to settle their debts. In fact, it seems like the contemporary tradition of resolutions has always been connected to religion. From the early Romans, to the Medieval knights, and beyond, this modern era ritual has a deep spiritual history.
It felt right, then, to make a new kind of resolution this year. I created a list of spiritual goals for my life, one being to begin each day with the Wesleyan Covenant Prayer. Life gets busy and our minds become cluttered, so I wanted to find a way to intentionally dedicate each day to God. This felt like a great place to start.
I wanted to find a way to intentionally dedicate each day to God.
The Wesleyan Covenant Prayer is beautiful, both in language and sentiment. It also appealed to me because it was already written. I am not a morning person, you see, and it takes some time for my brain to wake up. I wanted to intentionally begin my day with God but I did not want to put a ton of mental or emotional effort into it. The first couple of weeks began much as I expected… Remembering to recite the prayer about half the time, and then only doing so half-heartedly.
One unexpected day, however, the words finally hit me right in the heart. I realized that speaking these words is the equivalent of taking up my cross every day. The prayer is one of self-sacrifice, but also of unity. A prayer of denial, but also of acceptance. One of longing and one of finding.
Since I began including this prayer in my daily morning preparations, I have felt closer to God than I have in months. My prayer time has always revolved around concerns and praise, but very rarely have I prayed with the intention of committing myself to God. In the church, we have times set aside where we remember our covenant with God: communion, remembering our baptism, and Lent are a few of these occasions. What might it look like, though, if we decided as Christians to commit to God every day? Not just in word but in attitude. I am finding that this prayer is helping me focus every day on the promises I have made to God, and then be more appreciative of the promises that God has made to me.
I realized that speaking these words is the equivalent of taking up my cross every day.
“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 by 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."
- How might your perspective change if you intentionally committed yourself to God each day?
- How might God use you if you were to take up your cross every day?