This morning I read EM Bounds’ essay on consecration. This part spoke to me most of all:
Prayer is the one thing prominent in a consecrated life. Consecration is much more than a life of so-called service. It is a life of personal holiness, first of all. It is that which brings spiritual power into the heart and enlivens the entire inner man. It is a life which ever recognizes God, and a life given up to true prayer. Full consecration is the highest type of a Christian life. It is the one Divine standard of experience, of living and of service. It is the one thing at which the believer should aim. Nothing short of entire consecration must satisfy him. Never is he to be contented till he is fully, entirely the Lord’s by his own consent. His praying naturally and involuntarily leads up to this one act of his. Consecration is the voluntary set dedication of one’s self to God, an offering definitely made, and made without any reservation whatever. It is the setting apart of all we are, all we have, and all we expect to have or be, to God first of all.
I find myself praying prayers of consecration, and my heart stirs to think of myself as someone living a life that might one day be given up to prayer, that I would become a woman who belongs completely to God without any reservation whatsoever.
As I turn to the Psalms, I think of living differently in this new month of June. I want to meditate “day and night” on God’s word (Psalm 1) and, in my bed at night, to “search [my] heart and be silent” (Psalm 4).
As I’m thinking of consecration, I find Hannah Whitall Smith’s own prayer of consecration, published in her journal, written May 31, 1869, the night before her own June began. Maybe she wanted to consecrate a new month like me. She writes:
“Lord, I am yours, yours wholly, and yours forever! I am yours by the purchase of your blood, and I present myself to you now as a living sacrifice, body, soul, and spirit to be as clay in your hands. I give you my heart, Lord, to love only what you love; to hate what you hate; to endure all things, to suffer long and be kind, to be not easily provoked; to think no evil, not to seek my own. Help me, oh my God! I give you my intellect to be wholly devoted to your service, and perfectly under your control to think only whose thoughts that will please you, to devise only such plans as you suggest, to yield the management of all its affairs to you! I give it to you that you may fulfill the purposes of your grace by casting down in me imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. Help me, oh my God. I give you my body to be used by you. My eyes to see only what you would have them see, my ears to hear only what you would have them hear; my feet to go only where you lead, my hands to do only what can be done in fellowship with you, my tongue to speak only words that please you. I give you any appetite to be under thy control and regulation. I give my time to you, Lord, to be all employed for you. I leave my reputation in your hands. I give you my children, my husband, and everyone whom I love to be disposed of according to your will. I leave to you the ordering of my whole life, and with your help will follow you wherever you lead. I will give you the control of my feelings and of my prejudices. I submit, in short, my whole being and life all that I am and have and will be to your complete control and only ask that your will may be perfectly done in me, through me and by me! Take me and keep me oh my God!”
Let us consecrate ourselves to God. May June become a special month for us all.
Smith, H. W. (1997). The Christian’s secret of a holy life : The unpublished personal writings of Hannah Whitall Smith (May 13). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.