Friday, July 11, 2014

We Imagine We Are Doing Wonders

Commenting on how the man Christ Jesus spent the entire night in prayer before calling his twelve disciples as apostles (Lk. 6:12-13), Calvin upbraids our listlessness and lifelessness in prayer:
He prayed so earnestly. Not as we are accustomed to pray, carelessly and as a mere formality: he spent the whole night in prayer. Notice how this rebukes our own lazy and cold practice of prayer. We imagine that we are doing wonders when we pray morning and night; we feel we are being suitably spiritual despite the many distractions which get in our way. But it is a very different pattern which our Lord sets for us here. He keeps watch until daybreak, concerned and in distress of soul until he finds rest in God, laying before him his many cares for the church. . . . 
Let us therefore learn to discipline ourselves when we feel lethargic and have only half a heart for prayer—or worse, when the will to pray is but one-tenth or one-hundredth of what it should be. Let Christ's example be a spur inciting us to amend our leisurely approach to prayer. At the very least let us groan before God, asking him to forgive our faults; for these might shut the door to him, deny us access, and prevent our prayers being answered.
—John Calvin, Sermons on the Beatitudes, transl. Robert White (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 2006), 9.

No comments:

Post a Comment