Pray Without Ceasing
WEEK, Don Postema examines the idea of a continual attitude of prayer by
quoting John Calvin, the 16th century Protestant reformer.
PRAY WITHOUT CEASING
Prayer is an attitude that arises from a biblical faith and focuses our
attention and our whole life on God. It would be wonderful if we could have
this attitude all the time. But we don't. We continually need to be reminded
and made aware.
"Lifting up our hearts, we should ever aspire to God and pray without
ceasing. Still, since our weakness is such that it has to be supported by
many aids, and our sluggishness such that it needs to be goaded, it is
fitting each one of us should set apart certain hours for this exercise.
Those hours should not pass without prayer, and during them all the devotion
of the heart should be completely engaged in it. These are: when we arise in
the morning, before we begin daily work, when we sit down to a meal, when by
God's blessing we have eaten, when we are getting ready to retire." [John
Calvin, INSTITUTES, III, 32, 115-116]
Calvin reminds us that prayer is not only an attitude but also an act. Prayer
is an act in which we open ourselves to God's presence, break up our hard
hearts to receive the refreshing shower of God's grace. Prayer is a practice
by which we allow ourselves to receive God's gifts, to be embraced by
Christ's love, to be filled with the life of the Spirit. Prayer as act is a
gesture of gratitude that we make.
- Don Postema in SPACE FOR GOD: STUDY AND PRACTICE OF SPIRITUALITY AND
PRAYER, CRC Publications, 1997, page 112.
[As I count it up, John Calvin suggests that we pray nine times each day, and
that doesn't include times of corporate prayer in times of worship.]
Have a great week,
Pastor of Worship and Music
Chapel Hill Bible Church
Chapel Hill, North Carolina