by John Calvin (compiled by John H. Kromminga)
But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. —Matthew 6:6
It is highly worthy of observation that whoever engages in prayer should apply all his faculties and attention to it, and not be distracted, as is commonly the case, with wandering thoughts; nothing being more contrary to a reverence for God than such levity, which indicates a licentious spirit, wholly unrestrained by fear.
In this case our exertions must be great in proportion to the difficulty we experience. For no man can be intent on praying, but he may perceive many irregular thoughts intruding on him, and either interrupting, or by some oblique digression retarding him in the course of his devotions.
But here let us consider what an indignity it is when God admits us to familiar intercourse with him, to abuse such great condescension by a mixture of things sacred and profane, while our thoughts are not confined to him by reverential awe; but as if we are conversing with a mean mortal, we leave him in the midst of our prayer, and make excursions on every side.
We may be assured, therefore, that none are rightly prepared for the exercise of prayer, but those who are so affected by the Divine Majesty as to come to it divested of all earthly cares and affections. —Institutes, III, xx, iv
John Calvin was the premier theologian of the Reformation, but also a pious and godly Christian pastor who endeavored throughout his life to point men and women to Christ. We are grateful to Reformation Heritage Books for permission to use John Calvin's Thine Is My Heart as our daily devotional for 2013 on the OPC Web site. You can currently obtain a printed copy of that book from Reformation Heritage Books.
Dr. Joel Beeke, who is editorial director of Reformation Heritage Books, has this to say:
"Calvin shows us the piety of a Reformed theologian who speaks from the heart. Having tasted the goodness and grace of God in Jesus Christ, he pursued piety by seeking to know and do God’s will every day. He communed with Christ, practicing repentance, self-denial, and cross-bearing. Moreover, his theology worked itself out in heart-felt, Christ-honoring piety. The selections of this devotional bear this out, and hopefully will be used by God to direct pious hearts in our own day."
These devotional readings from John Calvin were compiled by John H. Kromminga. Be sure to read his "Introduction" to John Calvin's Thine Is My Heart.