The Prayers of J.Calvin (10)

JCalvinPicContinuing our posts on the prayers of John Calvin (see my previous Sunday posts in Nov./Dec., 2014 and now in Jan.2015), which follow his lectures on the OT prophecy of Jeremiah, today we post a brief section from his ninth lecture and the prayer that concludes it.

This lecture covers Jeremiah 2:31-35, which includes this closing comment on and application of v.35 (really the whole section), where God admonishes His people for pretending to be innocent when they were blatantly guilty of  high sins against Him. This is how Calvin concludes this part (slightly edited):

We may hence gather a profitable instruction. Let it in the first place be observed, that nothing is so displeasing to God as this headstrong presumption, that is, when we seek to appear innocent, while our own conscience condemns us.

Then in the second place observe, that all who thus perversely rebel and strive dishonestly and shamelessly to defend their own vices, contend at the same time with God: for false excuses have ever this tendency – to charge God with unjust severity.

But we see what such men gain for themselves; for God shews that he will be at length their judge, and that he will openly discover the vices of those who thought that they could excuse themselves by evasions and by false charges against himself.

They then who thus obstinately resist God, must at length, …come to this end, – that they will be constrained to acknowledge that God has not been too violently angry with them, but has only executed a just punishment.

And then follows this prayer:

Grant, Almighty God, that since we are loaded with so many vices, and provoke thee so often, yea, daily and in ways innumerable, – O grant, that we may not at last become hardened against thy godly admonitions, but be teachable and submissive and in time repent, lest our wantonness and hardness should constrain thee to put forth thy powerful hand against us; but as we have hitherto experienced thy paternal kindness, so may we in [the] future be made partakers of it, and thus become more and more accustomed to bear thy yoke, until having at length completed our warfare, we shall come to that blessed rest, which has been provided for us in heaven, through Christ our Lord. – Amen.

The “Problem” of Unanswered Prayer – H.Hanko

When-You-Pray -HHankoOur church (Faith PRC) discussion groups will be meeting tonight to discuss chapters 14 and 15 of Prof. Herman Hanko’s book on prayer, When You Pray (for the previous posts on this book, visit the Sunday posts beginning in January of this year).

Once again, this has made for good reading on the subject of prayer, specifically “a problem connected with petitionary prayer” (chap.14) and “perseverance in prayer” (chap.15), the two subjects of these chapters. We look forward to our treatment of these matters tonight in our group.

Today I lift a quote from chap.14 where Hanko begins to give the “solution to the problem” of apparent unanswered prayer in the life of the Christian.

I believe you will find his thoughts helpful and encouraging as you too face this “problem” (on our end) in your own prayer life.

We must first of all remind ourselves that prayer is always answered. Not one prayer that has ever been made in all the history of the world has gone unanswered by our heavenly Father. We may not speak of unanswered prayer, for it simply never happens.

But this does not mean that we are always given that for which we ask. We have no promise in Scripture that this will happen, and life is full of experiences that show us how true this is. Not to receive that for which we ask is also God’s answer. The answer is No.

Even when God cannot, according to his own eternal purpose, grant us what we seek, he still cares for us. He may not remove the burden, but he gives us strength to bear it. He may not take the problem away, but he gives wisdom that we may know what to do. He may not alleviate the suffering, but his grace is sufficient for every need. He may not heal, but when we die, he takes us to heaven. Above all, he gives us himself to be our companion and friend so that we need never walk alone (120-21).