Thursday, 23 July 2009

Calvin and prayer

I have been reading a recent biography of John Calvin by Herman J. Selderhuis. He discusses many features of Calvin’s life which I have found interesting, challenging and very moving. Today I read this paragraph on the prayer life of Calvin:


‘Calvin began each day with prayer. He prayed a lot because he expected so much from it. Thus a fact unknown to many also speaks for itself: the longest chapter by far of the Institutes is devoted to prayer. The Bible calls us to pray continually, but in Calvin’s opinion nothing would come of this if you did not establish a regular regimen. Prayer too ought to be done in good order and, as with so many other things, with moderation and directly from the heart. Calvin thus established what was virtually a monastic rule: “we pray when we get up in the morning, before we being our daily work, when we come to the table to eat, after we have eaten under God’s blessing and when we get ready to go back to bed again.”’


Reading about Calvin’s description of a biblical prayer life makes it easy to understand why he was able to accomplish so much in his lifetime and influence thousands of other people in subsequent generations. Those who pray less than others or haphazardly will have more time but do very little. In contrast, those who pray often and regularly may have less time but they will achieve a lot more because of God’s help.

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