After lecturing on the third chapter of Ezekiel, Calvin composed this prayer, which both summarizes what he said in his lecture regarding the importance and calling of pastors to the Church, and adds to it a note of personal pleading with the Lord.
In his prayer, Calvin says, in effect, that if pastors are so important, make us, therefore, the kind of people who want godly ministers to lead, guide, and teach us.
Here’s his prayer:
Almighty God, today you condescend to take care of our salvation and raise up your servants to be like eyes for us, so that we know that you keep watch lest we perish. Therefore, grant, I pray, that we be so moved by the sacred warnings that come from you through their ministry and effort, that if we have turned aside from the right way, we may quickly return and thereafter persevere in our own course and struggle with such persistence that at last we attain the enjoyment of that blessed rest which has been won for us by the blood of your Son. Amen.
I’m impressed by Calvin’s prayers–I have always seen him first and foremost a man of the Holy Spirit and of prayer. That doesn’t discount his theology, or the historically important nature of his leadership. But if that were all he were, then I wouldn’t love him as a hero as I do. No, my first commitment to being “like Calvin” is this pastor’s heart, this heart of God the Father, really, which longs for his congregation to be like Christ, to follow the Lamb who was slain, and to “attain that blessed rest which has been won for bus by the blood of Your Son.”
And of course, in this prayer, his dependence on God, on God’s Spirit, and on God’s mercy all combine in giving us a picture of how he viewed the pastoral work.
May God help me in these things.