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John Wesley’s Covenant Renewal Service

John Wesley’s Covenant Renewal Service

by John Matkin on January 29, 2021

John Wesley’s Covenant Renewal Service

Dear Dickinson Family and Friends,

I believe one of the most important contributions that Methodism has made to Christianity is John Wesley’s Covenant Prayer. It’s part of the larger Covenant Renewal Service, designed by Wesley in 1755.

Among Methodists, the Covenant Renewal Service is most commonly held on New Year’s Eve or Day and therefore is sometimes called a Watch Night Service. I have never been a part of a congregation that practiced this particular part of the tradition; I am quite sure that attendance on New Year’s Eve or Day would mean this worship service would be one of the lowest attended services of the year!

Many of you will remember we used to combine the Covenant Renewal Service with the Renewal of our Baptism Vows. They are similar – both involve making a total commitment to Jesus Christ, and both involve the scriptural and doctrinal language of covenant. However, combining the two services requires taking some things out of each worship experience.

Over the last few years, we have let each worship experience stand on its own. Renewal of our Baptism Vows occurs on Baptism of the Lord Sunday (usually the second Sunday of January), when we commemorate Christ’s own baptism in the River Jordan. We spend the rest of January further focused on renewal, resolution, commitment, and covenant. Then we participate in a more comprehensive Covenant Renewal experience on This approach gives all of us time to prepare to pray with total conviction Wesley’s Covenant Prayer:

Lord, make me what you will.
I put myself fully into your hands:
put me to doing, put me to suffering,
let me be employed for you, or laid aside for you,
let me be full, let me be empty,
let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and with a willing heart
give it all to your pleasure and disposal.

Join us this Sunday, January 31 – in-person or on-line – as we commit ourselves to God again.

God bless, 
Jack Matkin

Tags: prayer, covenant, renewal


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