Puritan Gems

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Calvin's Rules of Prayer

Being raised in a church culture that promoted God's servititude to man's prayers, I have found these rules to be most helpful in effectively praying while honoring God's most wise and determinant counsel.

1.) First, reverence to God. “Have our heart and mind framed as becomes those who are entering into converse with God”. All giddiness of mind must be excluded, and all our feelings seriously engaged. This confirmed by the form of lifting the hand in prayer. We must ask only in so far as God permits. To help our weakness, God gives the Spirit to be our guide in prayer. What the office of the Spirit in this respect. We must still pray both with the heart and the lips. Ask only in so far as God permits, not according to foolish and depraved affects.

2.) Second, a sense of our want. Truly feel our wants, seriously consider what we ask (not perfunctory, and have an ardent desire of receiving them. This rule violated
a. By perfunctory and formal prayer
b. By hypocrites who have no sense of their sins.
c. By giddiness in prayer.

3.) Third, the suppression of all pride. Divest oneself of all vain thoughts, lay aside all sense of self-worth, and pray seriously and earnestly. Advantage of thus suppressing pride. It leads to earnest entreaty for pardon, accompanied with humble confession and sure confidence in the Divine mercy. This may not always be expressed in words. It is peculiar to pious penitents. A general introduction to procure favour to our prayers never to be omitted.

4.) Fourth, Pray with a sure hope of succeeding --a sure confidence of being heard animating us to prayer. The kind of confidence required, viz., a serious conviction of our misery, joined with sure hope. From these true prayer springs. How diffidence impairs prayer. In general, faith is required. This faith and sure hope regarded by our opponents as most absurd. Their error described and refuted by various passages of Scripture, which show that acceptable prayer is accompanied with these qualities. No repugnance between this certainty and an acknowledgment of our destitution.