NASHVILLE — During a time of heightened interest in prayer, a United Methodist pastor is recommending a deeper look at the Covenant Prayer made popular by Methodism’s founder John Wesley.
In a new book released recently, the Rev Keith Beasley-Topliffe demonstrates how simple, familiar prayers can be a doorway to deeper prayer and transformation.
In “Surrendering to God: Living the Covenant Prayer”, he shares his own experience of praying and meditating on the classic prayer found today in the United Methodist Hymnal (Page 607) and other worship resources.
“Surrendering to God” provides a brief history of the prayer and a meditation on each phrase. Written in informal, conversational style, it is intended to help readers move beyond repetition into a more reflective experience of prayer.
“There is a great spiritual longing in our culture being filled by all sorts of exotica,” notes the Rev Beasley-Topliffe.
“I hope this book helps fill that longing by encouraging people to look more deeply at what they already know.”
The first covenant service in the Methodist movement is thought to have been celebrated in 1755, according to the United Methodist Book of Worship.
The service has been popular for use on New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and on the first Sunday of a new year.
In a recent commentary written for the United Methodist News Service, the Rev Ken Carter, Senior Pastor of Mount Tabor United Methodist Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, said: “Our spiritual heritage is captured in the words of the Covenant Prayer. They are profoundly biblical and express a radical dependence on God and submission to God’s will.”
The Rev Beasley-Topliffe, Pastor of Fifth Street United Methodist Church in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, is author of numerous articles and reviews. He has served as Editor of The Upper Room Classics and has been a major contributor to The Spiritual Formation Bible.
He is General Editor of The Upper Room Dictionary of Christian Spiritual Formation scheduled for release in 2003. He also writes frequently for Weavings magazine, published by The Upper Room. — United Methodist News Service.