Wisdom On Prayer From An Earlier Age – or – take it from a brother who knows!

Sometimes to get back to basics about something we need to go back in time.  No, I don’t mean actual time travel!  That’s most likely impossible (probably).  I mean going back in history and seeing what Christians of earlier ages said.  On the subject of prayer, Christians always need clarity and wisdom from an earlier age.  Here’s some of that older wisdom (hyperlinks do not date back to the Reformation but were added by yours truly):

John Calvin.   Try to find a pointier beard on a man, just try.

John Calvin.
Try to find a pointier beard on a man.  Just try.

On the one hand, the man who is rightly instructed in the true faith sees clearly how very poor he is, how totally bereft of all that is good, and how he lacks any possibility at all of saving himself.  Hence, if he wants to find a source of help for his beggary, he must go out of himself and look for it elsewhere.  

On the other hand, he contemplates the Lord who generously and willingly offers himself in Jesus Christ and, in Christ, opens to him all heavenly treasures.  The Lord does this so that the whole of man’s faith may apply itself to looking at this beloved Son, that all he expects may depend on this Son, and that all his hope should be built on, and rooted in, this Son.

Therefore man must turn to God in order to ask from him, by prayer, what he has learned to be in him…

…Prayer is a form of communication between God and ourselves by which we set before him our desires, our joys, our complaints – in short, all that goes on in our heart…

…There are two things which should really stir us up to pray: first of all, God’s directive which commands us to pray; and then the promise by which he assures us that we will receive what we ask.

-from Truth For All Time:  A Brief Outline of the Christian Faith, by John Calvin.


4 thoughts on “Wisdom On Prayer From An Earlier Age – or – take it from a brother who knows!

    • Well, he had a little less flair than the Reverend Dollar. Guys like our friend Creflo can’t really have anything to say (with their manifold errors) if they are not riffing off something that is, at its core, the truth. That’s the way all bad teaching (even heresy) works. My advice? Stick with Calvin and ignore Dollar. Brother John knew how to suffer with the Lord as well as receive blessing from Him.

      By the by, how are you Matt? It seems my blog is becoming a bit of a seminary reunion for me the past couple days.

  1. I’m down here in Piney MB, pastoring (International Christian Fellowship), and farming, 3 Girls 6 – 5 – 2. I didn’t know you had a blog until Rick Linked to it. So I checked it out, and added it to my feedreader. Good stuff, I always think i’m smart about some theologal thing, and then I read Calvin, and If i’m right, he has already more clearly articulated my thought. If i’m wrong he explains to me why.

    • Wonderful to know that you are in ministry! I’ve been pastoring in Downtown Wpg since graduating. Got 2 little girls.

      I haven’t been blogging very long. I’m still pretty new at it but writing is a good exercise. Calvin is always good to read. I’ve been a fan for quite a while. One thing I notice about both his critics and admirers, is that very few read him for themselves. Karl Barth said (about reading Calvin) something along the lines of that it was like drinking from a waterfall. *rough, rough paraphrase*

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