My Word for 2018: Renewal
By Beth Demme
My word for 2018 is renewal. Re-new-all. Make everything new again, or at least as much as I can. Some people complain that the world today is the worst and that things back then were better somehow. I get it. At times it’s easy to see the bad and hard to see the good.
Maybe I’m naïvely optimistic, but I’m looking for renewal in 2018.
I don’t expect to find renewal on my own. I’m counting on God to show it to me. God breathed life into dry bones (Ezekiel 37) and God breathed life into humankind (Genesis 2:7). Today I’m asking God to breathe renewed life into me and to let me see signs of renewal throughout 2018.
One of the most impactful prayers I’ve ever prayed is called the Wesley Covenant Prayer. It’s often offered as part of a Covenant Renewal Service. My church did this service recently and it felt … special.
The Covenant Prayer is an all-in kind of prayer. God is all-in. We learned that with the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. The Covenant Prayer is one way to affirm that I, too, am all-in. (Click here for a business card size copy of the prayer you can print.)
Whose am I? In this prayer I say, “I am no longer my own, but thine.” I say, “Yes God, I belong to you and I live for you, not for myself.”
I invite God to put me to what he will and rank me with whom he will. I affirm that I will do whatever needs to be done for whoever needs it.
The prayer continues, “Put me to doing or put me to suffering.” In other words, whatever is in store for me, Oh Great and Wondrous God, I know I can handle it because you’ll be with me.
Let me employed by thee or laid aside for thee. Exalted for thee or brought low by thee. Yes, I like to be useful but if I can better serve you in a way that seems to me that I am idle, then so be it.
The heart of this prayer is this:
What you want God, not what I want.
Maybe you’ve heard it said before, but EGO is really an acronym for Easing God Out. The Covenant prayer says no more easing God out. It’s all about letting God flood in.
Why would I do that? Because I want to live a life that has real meaning. Whatever I think will make my life, or even just my today meaningful, the truth is, God can come up with something better. So I pray to God,
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.
Freely meaning I do this willingly. Heartily as in whole-heartedly. I commit to God with my whole heart. I yield all things – meaning ALL things, not some things. Not just the things I want to yield. Not just the things that don’t embarrass me. Not just the things that I think are worthy of God. Not “just” anything because I yield all things to God’s pleasure and disposal.
Then comes my favorite part of the prayer:
Thou art mine – you God are my God–
and I am thine – I God, am yours.
I am your beloved and you are mine.
The prayer closes by asking for the ratification of this covenant in heaven. Heaven of all places!
I have prayed this prayer in many seasons of my life and it has never failed to open my eyes to the work of God around, and in, me.
As we dig into 2018, this will be my prayer because I need to see God now more than ever. In the face of complaints that the world today is the worst and the frequent reminders that things used to be better, I need to see that God is still at work—renewing the world and renewing me.
What about you? Will you pray this prayer with me? Do you see renewal around you? Are you optimistic that you will experience renewal in 2018? Tell me about it in the comments, in an e-mail, or on Facebook.
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