A Prayer by John Calvin

“Nowe let us kneele downe in the presence of our good GOD with acknowledgements of our faultes, praying him to make us feele them better than we have done, so as our whole seeking may bee to submit our selves unto him, and hee may vouchsafe to reach us his hand, not suffering us to bee any more given to our own fancies and affections, but that wee may magnify his goodness which he uses towardes us, and fare the better by it by yielding him the obedience that hee deserveth: specially because hee hath vouchsafed to bring us his lawe and declare it to us, and hath not only showed us the way how to live well, but also vouchsafed to adopt us to bee his children, and to shewe himselfe to be our father and Saviour for our Lorde Jesus Christes sake. That it may please him graint this grace not only to us, but also to all people.”

A prayer of John Calvin from his Sermons Upon the Fifth Book of Moses

Old English as from Calvin’s Day

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6 thoughts on “A Prayer by John Calvin

  1. Beautifully written and places me in a poetic mode. Nevertheless, poetic vanishes when I bow my knee to confess and acknowledge my faults. Yes, God’s Grace I truly need when entering this room of contrition. Hopefully, I will be a better person after leaving this soul self and allowing God’s perfection to enter those flawed places.

    Thanks, for a spirit led prayer to motivate my day and hopefully my life.

  2. I appreciate the prayer you shared and your comment on it Sara. Obedience is what God deserves and how His goodness should be at the forefront of my thoughts and actions particularly stood out to me.

    1. Calvin prays the Gospel in this prayer… acknowledging the faults [sins] of man…even His own…and those who have the privilege of receiving forgiveness because of what Christ has done on the cross, that divine hand reaching down to humanity….me, you, whosoever will bow the knee now. as every knee must…free, now or forced later.
      This prayer, my opinion, shows the author’s intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father and identifies as a son of God the Father.
      We [ I ] did not know this kind of prayer as I was growing up in a church. This would have explained so much better the gift of absolution from the confession of sins.

  3. Wonder why John Calvin found me and wanted me to kneele and pray; ““Nowe let us kneele downe in the presence of our good GOD with acknowledgements of our faultes, praying him to make us feele them better than we have done, so as our whole seeking may bee to submit our selves unto him, and hee may vouchsafe to reach us his hand, not suffering us to bee any more given to our own fancies and affections…”

    I tried and hopefully followed this counsel for a few days. I heard pretty clear not to have idle hands or minds as they would lead to self seeking even in conversation with others. I was given a list and I somewhat obeyed. That being a bit on the slow side of dragging feet and not wanting to do while being so busy with my busy list. One most interesting on my list. I made a call to thank someone for something that had been done for me a few weeks before. On the call I was given disturbing news how someone of “means” had mistreated another. I was overwhelmed how this could be? I struggled in the night trying to formulate a prayer for this situation about people I Know little about. Thank you, John Calvin and Gary, “…but, also vouchsafed to adopt us to bee his children, and to shewe himselfe to be our father and Saviour for our Lorde Jesus Christes sake. That it may please him graint this grace not only to us, but also to all people.” Amen, grant grace to all people.”

  4. I am thinking that the part of the prayer that says, grant this grace not only to us to all people…that ”all people” means the just and the unjust? Isn’t that correct? Because if that is correct then our prayers for the lost might need to be readjusted a bit or maybe our [I’ll speak for myself’ my way of thinking about how we pray for the lost.
    Don’t know…will have to think about attitude in prayer for those who haven’t bowed the knee yet. And…. sometimes that’s not only the LOST. YIKES>

  5. It is refreshing to read these older writers such as Calvin who seem to understand and make the lines and boundaries for how we are to live in obedience clear and black and white, not blurred or fudged: “whole seeking may bee to submit our selves unto him”; “to bee any more given to our own fancies and affections”;
    “by yielding him the obedience that hee deserveth”.

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