Monthly Archives: September 2013

  • Let Us Pray, part 3

    Prayer is serious business because the one to whom we offer our prayers is the supreme king, king of kings and Lord of Lords. Had we the chance to meet the President of the United States, we would choose our words very carefully. How much more with God? Thus, Calvin’s first rule for prayer cautioned against giddiness and flippancy. His second rule which we take up here is,

    that in asking we must always truly feel our wants, and seriously considering that we need all the things which we ask, accompany the prayer with a sincere, nay, ardent desire of obtaining them.

    In other words, there is to be a genuine sense of need in our hearts for the things we ask for. Whereas the first rule warns against flippancy, this second rule warns against formality. Calvin offers the example … Read More »

  • Let Us Pray, part 2

    Calvin offers four “rules of right prayer” at the beginning of his treatment on the subject. The first rule is reverence.

    Now for framing prayer duly and properly, let this be the first rule: that we be disposed in mind and heart as befits those who enter conversation with God.

    Although he never mentions it here, I found myself thinking how similar Calvin’s instruction is to Jesus instruction on the subject of prayer. Our prayers are to begin with, “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name…” In other words, right from the start there is a reverence and respect for the awesomeness of who God is that is crucial for our practice of prayer. We ought not come to God in prayer flippantly or with too much familiarity.

    For nothing is more contrary to reverence for God than the levity … Read More »

  • Let Us Pray, part 1

    I have been thinking about personal/individual prayer lately so I turned to Calvin and his section on prayer in the Institutes. His title of this section is: “Prayer, Which Is the Chief Exercise of Faith, And By Which We Daily Receive God’s Benefits.” In the weeks to come I will lead us in a reflection of this section of the Institutes in hope that we might be better encouraged and equipped to commune with Christ in prayer.

    Calvin’s title is telling when it comes to the pride of place prayer holds for the Christian’s life. It is the “chief” exercise, the place where we “daily” “receive” God’s benefits. Wow. Chief place! As we say, “it is a means of grace.” That is, it is an instrument that God uses to extend to us his grace, or as a means for us … Read More »

  • Irresistible Grace

    The five points of Calvinism often go under different names.  Sometimes they are called “The Five Points,” others refer to them as “Biblical Christianity” (Spurgeon), and, of course, sometimes they are described as a TULIP.  Equally common, “Doctrines of Grace” is used to refer to them.  Grace is an appropriate way to think of these doctrines for at every point they force us back to the gracious plan of God to effect our redemption.  It is by grace we have been saved (Eph. 2:8) and the grace extends back to election and is present today in perseverance.  The whole of the Christian life is by grace.  When we talk of Irresistible Grace we are thinking specifically of conversion.  The Bible uses a host of metaphors and words to describe this event.  God “opens eyes” and “hearts” and he enlightens “minds.”  … Read More »