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Candles are lit at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin in Oxford, England.

Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications

On March 2 some United Methodists hold commemoration services for John Wesley that include a special prayer.

A prayer in memory of John Wesley


United Methodists remember those who have faithfully lived and died on All Saints’ Day. The ancient church also remembered specific people on the anniversaries of their deaths. For example, they would worship at the tombs of martyrs on those days, not only to remember them, but also to renew one’s hope of resurrection. These became known as feast days.

While United Methodists do not celebrate feast days, we remember the lives and ministries of some of our early leaders on the days when they crossed over from this life into the next. That day for John Wesley is March 2. The following prayer is a great one to remember Wesley's life, and ask God to empower us to continue his ministry. 

O God,
  who plucked as a brand from the burning
     your servant John Wesley
  that he might kindle the flame of love in our hearts
     and illuminate our minds:
Grant us such a warming of our hearts that we,
     being set afire by holy love,
  may spread its flame to the uttermost parts of the earth,
  through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Prayer by J. E. Rattenbury (1870-1963), alt. C. F. Guthrie, as it appears in To Remember and Celebrate: Worship Resources for Heritage Events by Kenneth E. Rowe, Susan M. Eltscher, and Charles Yrigoyen. (Madison, NJ: General Commission on Archives and History, the United Methodist Church, 1995. Print.)  p. 28.