Monday, August 3, 2009

Praying privately and publicly

Calvin's Institutes (1559)
Book 3 of 4 - How We Receive the Grace of Christ
Chapter 20 - Prayer as exercise of faith and way we receive God's benefits

Sections 28-30 - Prayer, private and public
28. Private prayer. We all have need to seek God - relief from trouble, or forgiveness of sin, and for blessings on our endeavors. Ps 50:15; James 4:14-15; Isaiah 30:1; 31:1; 1 Tim 4:5. "Our silence is spiteful" when we could thank Him for His blessings. Ps 51:15; Isa 38:20; Jonah 2:9; Ps 116:12-13; 106:47; 102:17-18, 21. Prayer flows from love for God. Ps 116:1; 18:1; Phil 4:6; 1 Thess 5:17-18. We praise Him through Jesus Christ - Heb 13:15.

29. Public prayers are not constant, but at regular times. 1 Cor 14:40. Dangers are making a show, and too many words. Prayer is of the heart and mind, essentially, but it is fitting to pray publicly, too. Jesus withdrew privately; also 1 Tim 2:8. "The chief part of His worship lies in the office of prayer." The temple is called house of prayer - Isa 56:7; Matt 21:13; Ps 65:1.

30. Church buildings are rightly used for the church to gather - Matt 18:19-20. But we do this "without distinction of place," as God "does not allow us to cleave to any material temple." John 4:23; Isa 66:1; Acts 7:48-49.

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