I recently read an article entitled Calvin’s Four Rules of Prayer by Dr. Carlton Wynne, assistant professor of systematic theology and apologetics at Westminster Theological Seminary. He introduces the subject this way:
Reading through some old notes on Calvin’s Institutes made me realize what always gets dropped when life feels like one giant game of whirlyball: prayer. Calvin says that if we do not pray, we are like a man who “neglect[s] a treasure, buried and hidden in the earth, after it had been pointed out to him” (3.20.1). “So true is it,” Calvin explains, “that we dig up by prayer the treasures that were pointed out by the Lord’s gospel, and which our faith has gazed upon” (ibid.). The metaphor is apt: digging is hard work, but digging for a treasure known to be there is worth the effort.
Dr. Wynne then goes on to discuss briefly four rules of prayer set forth by Calvin, which are:
- Reverence for the one to whom we pray.
- Realizing just how needy we are before God.
- Humility — which includes repentance from sin.
- Trust — “We should be . . . encouraged to pray by a sure hope that our prayer will be answered” (Institutes 3.20.11).
I recommend reading Dr. Wynne’s article, for it is a good reminder from our departed brother on the importance of prayer. As always, I’m interested in hearing your feedback. Hopefully, you will find the article as helpful as I did.