by John Calvin (compiled by John H. Kromminga)
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. —Matthew 23:14
But this diligence in prayer, although it chiefly respects the particular and private devotions of each individual, has, notwithstanding, some reference also to the public prayers of the Church. But these cannot be unceasing, nor ought they to be conducted otherwise than according to the polity which is appointed by the common consent.
This, indeed, I confess. For therefore also certain hours are prescribed and fixed, though indifferent with God, yet necessary to the customs of men, that the benefit of all may be regarded, and all the affairs of the Church administered, according to the direction of Paul, "decently and in order."
But this by no means prevents it from being the duty of every Church often to stimulate themselves to a greater frequency of prayer, and also to be inflamed with more ardent devotion on the pressure of any necessity unusually great.
Moreover these things form no encouragement to those vain repetitions which Christ has chosen to condemn; for he does not forbid us to pray long or frequently, or with great fervor of affection; but he forbids us to confide in our ability to extort anything from God by stunning his ears with garrulous loquacity, as though he were to be influenced by the arts of human persuasion. —Institutes, III, xx, xxix
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.