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
He immediately adds a better direction, which is to enter into our closet, and there to pray with the door shut. In which words, as I understand them, he has taught us to seek retirement, that we may be enabled to descend into our own hearts with all our powers of reflection, and promised us that God, whose temples our bodies ought to be, will accede to the desires of our souls. For he did not intend to deny the expediency of praying also in other places; but shows that prayer is a kind of secret thing, which lies principally in the heart, and requires a tranquillity of mind undisturbed by all cares.
It was not without reason therefore that the Lord himself, when he would engage in an unusual vehemence of devotion, retired to some solitary place, far from the tumult of men. And so it is to be concluded that whoever refuses to pray in the solemn assembly of the saints knows nothing of private prayer, either solitary or domestic. And again, that he who neglects solitary and private prayer, no matter how regularly he may frequent the public assemblies, only forms there such as are mere wind, because he pays more deference to the opinion of men than to the secret judgment of God. —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.