World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Wesley Covenant Prayer

Article Id: WHEBN0001456193
Reproduction Date:

Title: Wesley Covenant Prayer  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Methodism, Book of Worship for Church and Home (1965), Watchnight service, List of prayers, Christian prayer
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Wesley Covenant Prayer

The Wesley Covenant Prayer was adapted by John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, for use in services for the Renewal of the believer's Covenant with God. In his Short history of the people called Methodists,[1] Wesley describes the first covenant service; a similar account is to be found in his Journal of the time.[2] Wesley says that the first service was held on Monday 11 August 1755, at the French church at Spitalfields in London, with 1800 people present. He reports that he "recited the tenor of the covenant proposed, in the words of that blessed man, Richard Alleine".[3]

The covenant prayer and service are recognised as one of the most distinctive contributions of Methodism to the liturgy of the church in general, and they are also used from time to time by other denominations.

Contents

  • Origins 1
  • Modern usage 2
  • The Prayer 3
  • Footnotes 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Origins

The origins of the covenant prayer have been the subject of some scholarly discussion.[4] While Wesley attributes it to the English puritan Alleine, influences of German pietistic have also been claimed, and also (less frequently) echoes of the high church tradition from which Wesley sprang. The words of the original covenant prayer are lost, but are thought to be reflected in the Directions for Renewing our Covenant with God which Wesley issued as a pamphlet in 1780.

Modern usage

Services using the Covenant prayer have been included in most Methodist books of liturgy since, though none was included in the Sunday Service of the Methodists in North America book that Wesley published in 1784 for the use of his followers in America. Perhaps for this reason, while the Covenant service has been an invariable part of the liturgy of the British Methodist Church and its daughter churches in the Commonwealth, its use is less widespread in American Methodist denominations: Referring to the United Methodist Church, Charles R. Hohenstein notes that "covenant services are seldom encountered these days".[5]

Although Wesley's early covenant services were not held at any particular time of year, in British Methodism the custom soon developed of holding Covenant services near the beginning of the New Year, nowadays usually on the first or second Sunday of the year. This was perhaps under the influence of a different Methodist tradition, the holding of Watchnight services on New Year's Eve, in competition with the rowdy secular celebrations of the New Year.

The form of the covenant prayer and service have been simplified since Wesley's time, but important elements of them are still retained from Wesley's Directions. They include many of the words both of the bidding that traditionally precedes the prayer, and the prayer itself. The bidding traditionally includes phrasing such as:

...Christ has many services to be done. Some are easy, others are difficult. Some bring honour, others bring reproach. Some are suitable to our natural inclinations and temporal interests, others are contrary to both... Yet the power to do all these things is given to us in Christ, who strengthens us.

The Prayer

Footnotes

  1. ^ Wesley (1841, pp. 319)
  2. ^ Wesley (1829, pp. 339)
  3. ^ Wesley (1829, pp. 290)
  4. ^ Parkes (1997, pp. 176)
  5. ^ Hohenstein (1997)
  6. ^ "A covenant with God". Methodist Church in Britain. Retrieved 6 January 2014. 

References

  • Hohenstein, Charles R. (1997). "Lex orandi, lex credendi". Wesleyan Theological Journal. 32 2. Retrieved 6 January 2014. 
  • Parkes, William (1997). "Watchnight, Covenant Service, and the Love-Feast in Early British Methodism". Wesleyan Theological Journal. 32 2. 
  • Wesley, John (1829). An extract of the Rev. Mr John Wesley's Journal. , from February 16 1749 to June 16, 1758. In , 3rd Edition, Vol. 2The Complete Works of the Reverend John Wesley, A.M., pp. 321-449. London: John Mason.
  • Wesley, John (1841). A short history of the people called Methodists. , in , 4th Edition, Vol. 13The Complete Works of the Reverend John Wesley, A.M., pp. 287-360. London: John Mason. Originally published, 1781.

External links

  • Directions for Renewing our Covenant with GodFacsimile of Wesley's , 3rd edition (1784).
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 



Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.