by John Calvin (compiled by John H. Kromminga)
Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. —Philippians 4:6
Wherefore, although we are stupid and insensible to our own miseries, he vigilantly watches and guards us, and sometimes affords us unsolicited help, yet it highly concerns us faithfully to pray to him, that our heart may be always inflamed with a serious and ardent desire of seeking, loving, and worshipping him, while we accustom ourselves in all our necessities to resort to him as our sheet anchor.
Further, that no desire or wish, which we should be ashamed for him to know, may enter our minds; when we learn to present our wishes, and so to pour out our whole heart in his presence. Next, that we may be prepared to receive his blessings with true gratitude of soul, and even with grateful acknowledgments; being reminded by our praying that they have come from his hand.
Moreover, that when we have obtained what we sought, the persuasion that he has answered our requests may excite us to more ardent meditations on his goodness, and produce a more joyful welcome of those things which we acknowledge to be the fruits of our prayers.
Lastly, that use and experience itself may yield our minds a confirmation of his providence in proportion to our weakness, while we realize that he not only promises never to forsake us, and freely opens a way of access for our addressing him in the very moment of necessity; but that his hand is always extended to assist his people, whom he does not feed with mere words, but supports with present aid.
On these accounts our most merciful Father, though liable to no sleep or languor, yet frequently appears as if he were sleepy or tired, in order to exercise us, who are otherwise slothful and inactive, in approaching, supplicating, and earnestly beseeching him to our own advantage. It is extremely absurd, therefore, in them who, with a view to divert the minds of men from praying to God, pretend that it is useless for us by our interruptions to weary the Divine Providence, which is engaged in the conservation of all things; whereas the Lord declares, on the contrary, that he "is nigh to all that call upon him in truth." —Institutes, III, xx, iii
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.