Calvin: six reasons for prayer


The first is “that our hearts may be fired with a zealous and burning desire ever to seek, love and serve [God], while we become accustomed in every need to flee to him as to a sacred anchor.”

The second is that our hearts entertain no desire or wish that would render them ashamed before God.

The third is that our hearts may ever be attuned to thanksgiving, since we know that every blessing comes from him.

The fourth is that our spiritual alertness may be enhanced as we recognize answers to prayer and subsequently come to meditate “more ardently” on the kindness that alone supplies our need.

The fifth is that we may delight still more in all that we know our prayer has obtained for us.

The sixth is that we may confirm God’s generosity and care for us by “use and experience”; our heart-owned experience of God’s answer to prayer and the use we make of what he has given us in turn supports the efficacy of prayer, the promises of God, and the reality of our being “in Christ.”

Calvin also invokes rules of prayer, that we should be reverently single-minded, aware of our insufficiency, give glory to God alone and not to themselves, and pray with confident hope.

[1] Based on a sermon from Victor Shepherd 2005 (

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