Thursday, 21 May 2009

Calvin on Prayer

As we continue our series on the sermon on the mount I have just preached on the Lord's Prayer. I came across this quote from Calvin, and I thought it was great.

"Believers do not pray with the view of informing God about things unknown to Him, or of exciting Him to do His duty, or of urging Him as though He were reluctant. On the contrary, they pray in order that they may arouse themselves to seek Him, that they make exercise their faith by meditating on His promises, that they may relieve themselves from their anxieties by pouring them out to Him, in a word, that they may declare that from Him alone they hope, and expect, both from themselves, and others, all good things."

5 comments:

dave bish said...

The first few pages of Calvin on prayer has to be among the best material in The Institutes.

Andy said...

Very profound, but I'm not sure I agree. I guess it depends what you mean by prayer. Most instances of prayer in the new testament (I just looked on bible gateway) are about petition/supplication/intercession.
Calvin seems to be waffling that prayer is about relationship and self-edification, which I'd suggest are by-products of prayer, not the focus.

Not that I'd want to diss Calvin on a Newfrontiers blog.

Blue, with a hint of amber said...

I think the point is that prayer is not explaining the unknown, begging, or trying to sell something.

Most instances of prayer in the new testament (I just looked on bible gateway) are about petition/supplication/intercessionHow many of the statements / sentences in the Lord's prayer fit those categories?

I think the point being made is that prayer is not just the shopping list it is so often reduced to.

Andy said...

"How many of the statements / sentences in the Lord's prayer fit those categories?"

About half?

I see your point though. Prayer should be more than a shopping list. However, I think the great thing about prayer is that God listens to our requests. So we've got a great opportunity to receive, and I think we're sometimes in danger of not asking God for stuff (not material things) because we think we're being greedy, when actually he wants us to ask Him.

Jongudmund said...

More than half of the Lord's Prayer is petitioning requests when you think about it.

Your Kingdom come
Your Will be done
Give us our daily bread
Forgive us our sins
Lead us away from temptation
Deliver us from the evil one

Come, do, give, forgive, lead, deliver.

6 different asks.

Not that I'd want to diss Calvin on a Newfrontiers blog.Oh, but you do really, don't you? I mean who wouldn't? ;)