As 2017 draws to a close and 2018 draws near, I have two prayers I would like to share. I have used these prayers in the past, but they are both worth repeating for their timeliness and wisdom. The first is John Wesley’s “Covenant Prayer,” which was used at the New Year by Christians wishing to renew their covenant with God. I include Wesley’s prayer as a reminder to us that this is an excellent time to rededicate ourselves to God and to be the people God equips us to be.
The second prayer is “The Work of Christmas,” by Howard Thurman. In 1944 Thurman left his work as Dean of the Chapel at Howard University and established The Church for the Fellowship of All People in San Francisco. It was the first racially integrated and intercultural church in the country. Thurman was then invited to be Dean of Marsh Chapel at Boston University. While there, he taught and became a mentor to a young Martin Luther King, Jr.
While Wesley’s prayer reminds us of our relationship with God, Thurman’s prayer reminds us of our relationship with God’s people. Both are essential to who we are.
Wesley’s “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 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.
Thurman’s “The Work of Christmas”
When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among God’s children,
To make music in the heart.
Finally, I want to thank you for the kind cards, thoughts, and expressions of appreciation Nancy and I have received this year – not only during this Advent season, but throughout the fall as I recovered from surgery. It means more than we can express.
I send all good wishes to you for the Christmas season, and for a peaceful and safe New Year full of joy, good cheer, and good health.