Praying with Both Hands

“In short, the more generously God deals with us, gently summoning us to unburden our cares into His bosom, the less excusable are we if His splendid and incomparable benefit does not outweigh all else with us and draw us to Him, so that we apply our minds and efforts zealously to prayer…

“Yet…mankind is so stuffed with such depravity that for the sake of mere performance men often beseech God for many things that they are dead sure will, apart from His kindness, come to them from some other source, or already lie in their possession…

“If we would pray fruitfully, we ought therefore to grasp with both hands this assurance of obtaining what we ask, which the Lord enjoins with His own voice, and all the saints teach by their example.  For only that prayer is acceptable to God which is born, if I may so express it, out of such presumption of faith, and is grounded in unshaken assurance of hope.”—John Calvin, Institute of the Christian Religion (1559)

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