When you hear the word theologian what comes to mind? When you think about doctrine do you picture scholars in suits and ties studying 2000 page books full of 15-letter -isms and -ologies? Do you picture them solving problems and writing page after page on issues that have no little to no practical bearing on the lives of everyday, average people like us? As much as I hate to admit it, I have often felt that way as I've waded into depths of theological conundrums caused by the translation (or mis-translation) of a single Greek word.
I used to think John Calvin was one of these ivory tower theologians with all head and no heart. However, the more I read what he wrote and not what people say he wrote, I see that he had the heart of a lover of God and pastor. He was a man of strong devotion and zeal for God, and he puts this on display with the numerous prayers and references to seeking God in writings. Contrary to popular belief, he wrote more on other topics than did on election or predestination.
Everyday Prayer with John Calvin is one such example of his passion for God. It isn't a book that Calvin wrote, but it's jam-packed with quotes and excerpts of his writings on dwelling with Christ through prayer. Donald McKim has done an excellent job of pulling excerpts from Calvin's magnum opus, Institutes of the Christian Religion, as well as his numerous commentaries on the Old and New Testaments.
McKim suggests four steps to using this book in your prayer life:
1. Read the passage of Scripture at the top of each page. (Yes, this book is about the Word and the God Calvin wrote about, not Calvin himself!)
2. Meditate on the teaching and instruction from the passage and devotional writings of Calvin.
3. Pray in reflection on the Scripture and the devotional..
4. Act in light of what you've read and prayed about.
In the strange and scary days we are walking in right now, here is an excerpt of how Everyday Prayer with John Calvin and helps us pray in light of God's Word. In his writing on Psalm 18:1-6, Calvin said:
"It was a very evident proof of uncommon faith in David, when, being almost plunged into the gulf of death, he lifted up his heart to heaven by prayer. Let us therefore learn, that such an example is set before our eyes, that no calamities, however great and oppressive, may hinder us from praying, or create an aversion to it." (p. 27; emphasis added)
With prayer points and reflection questions each day, Everyday Prayer with John Calvin is an excellent supplement to your devotional life. Whether you're looking for a quick and simple tool for your quiet times or you're planning to spend time with a friend, spouse, or family member, this is a great option for you!
*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to leave a positive review.
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