December 28th – The Hardest Prayer of All

Our friends, the Methodists, all over the world, hold a Covenant Service annually which has hardly changed since drawn up by John Wesley. At its heart is prayer which I always find a most searching challenge to pray.
Let me read this Covenant Prayer for you now – it’s quite short – but don’t hurry, let each phrase soak in. We are talking to God, remember.
“I am no longer my own but yours.
Put me to what you will
Rank me with whom you will
Put me to doing
Put me to suffering
Let me be employed for you
Or be laid aside for you
Exalted for you
Or brought low for you.
Let me be full
Let me be empty.
Let me brave all things
Let me brave nothing.
I freely and whole-heartedly yield all things to your pleasure and disposal.”
So, when I say I find this a prayer so hard to say with meaning, you will understand me. It’s possibly the hardest prayer in the world.
The supreme occasion of self-surrendering prayer is, of course, Jesus, our master and Lord. With all the world to win, so much to teach it, so much to do, faced a sudden and brutal death at the age of 33. Listen, to Mark Chapter 14, v.32-27 They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray”. He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death”, he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch”. Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba, father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon”, he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? ”
A Prayer:
Lord, teach me to pray with my will, as well as with my mind and heart.

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