On Rightly Relating to God

The pious mind recognizes “God because it knows that he governs all things; and trusts that he is its guide and protector, therefore giving itself over completely to trust in him. Because it understand him to be the Author of every good, if anything oppresses, if anything is lacking, immediately it betakes itself to his protection, waiting for help from him. Because it is persuaded that he is good and merciful, it reposes in him with perfect trust, and doubts not that in his loving-kindness a remedy will be provided for all its ills.”

– John Calvin, Institutes, I. ii. 2.

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Mark Dever’s Schedule for Reading Old Books

Mark Dever chronologically schedules old books into his reading. Genius. Insofar as this is a new year, I’m going to seek to follow his schedule, reading a book from each time period in its given month. Athanaisus’ On the Incarnation will be the book for January.

“Dever’s annual reading schedule is structured chronologically, and it looks something like this:

  • January: early church patristic writings (first through third centuries)
  • February: Augustine (354-430)
  • March: Martin Luther (1483-1546)
  • April: John Calvin (1509-1564)
  • May: Richard Sibbes (1577-1635)
  • June: John Owen (1616-1683) and John Bunyan (1628-1688)
  • July: Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)
  • August: C. H. Spurgeon (1834-1892)
  • September: B. B. Warfield (1851-1921)
  • October: Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981)
  • November: C. S. Lewis (1898-1963) and Carl F. H. Henry (1913-2003)
  • December: Contemporary authors”

– Tony Reinke, Lit!, 180-181.

Prayer: Not Only Words, But Desires

“Mind quite unfitted for devotion. Prayerless prayer.”
– Robert Murray M’Cheyne, The Biography of Robert Murray M’Cheyne, Kindle edition, location 283.

“When thou prayest, rather let thy hearts be without words, than thy words without a heart.”
– John Bunyan, Complete Works of John Bunyan, Kindle edition, location 5686.

“In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears…”
Hebrews 5:7

“A spiritual prayer is when the heart and spirit pray; there are not only words but desires. It is excellent when a man can say, ‘Lord, my heart prays.’ Hannah ‘prayed in her heart’ (1 Sam. 1:13). The sound of a trumpet comes from within and the excellent music of prayer comes from within the heart. If the heart does not accompany duty, it is speaking, not praying.”
– Thomas Watson, The Godly Man’s Picture (East Peoria: Banner, 2009), 89, emphasis mine.

When you pray, are you actually praying or simply speaking?