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John_Calvin_Poster-thumb-480x384[1]For my master’s course on Calvin and the Reformed Tradition, I decided to write on John Calvin’s view of prayer. Eventually the paper took shape and this became the title: “The Trinitarian Focus of Calvin’s Theology of Prayer.” In my paper I argue that throughout his writings Calvin has a robustly Trinitarian framework when discussing prayer. When we pray we are communing with the triune God: we pray to God the Father, in the Son, by the Holy Spirit. With a few exceptions, that emphasis is missing from most discussions on Calvin’s view of prayer. Perhaps when I receive my paper back with feedback and suggestions, I’ll post it here.

In the meantime, here’s a list of the secondary literature (books, chapters, articles, and theses) I found most helpful for my paper. I should also note that I mostly used primary sources (the Institutes and his commentaries).


Beeke, Joel R. “Calvin on Piety.” In The Cambridge Companion to John Calvin, edited by Donald K. McKim, 125–52. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

———. “John Calvin on Prayer as Communion with God.” In Taking Hold of God: Reformed and Puritan Perspectives on Prayer, edited by Joel R. Beeke and Brian G. Najapfour, 27–42. Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2011.

Benge, Dustin W., ed. Lifting up Our Hearts: 150 Selected Prayers from John Calvin. Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2012.

Boulton, Matthew Myer. Life in God: John Calvin, Practical Formation, and the Future of Protestant Theology. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2011.

Calhoun, David B. “Prayer: ‘The Chief Exercise of Faith.’” In Theological Guide to Calvin’s Institutes: Essays and Analysis, edited by David W. Hall and Peter A. Lillback, 347–67. Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Publishing, 2008.

Coulibaly, Nouhoum. “Calvin’s Teaching and Practice of Prayer.” Master’s thesis, Tyndale Seminary, 2009.

Crisp, Oliver. “John Calvin and Petitioning God.” In Retrieving Doctrine: Essays in Reformed Theology, 133–55. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2010.

Hansen, Gary Neal. “Praying with John Calvin: Studious Meditation on the Psalms.” In Kneeling with Giants: Learning to Pray with History’s Best Teachers, 75–95. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books, 2012.

Hesselink, I. John. “Calvin’s Theology.” In The Cambridge Companion to John Calvin, edited by Donald K. McKim, 74–92. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

———. “Introduction: John Calvin on Prayer.” In On Prayer: Conversation with God, 1–31. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2006.

Huijgen, Arnold. “Calvin and Prayer.” Lux Mundi 28, no. 4 (2009): 94–97.

Loggie, Robert Douglas. “Chief Exercise of Faith—An Exposition of Calvin’s Doctrine of Prayer.” The Hartford Quarterly 5, no. 2 (1965): 65–81.

Matheson, J. G. “Calvin’s Doctrine of the Christian Life.” Scottish Journal of Theology 2 (1949): 48–56.

Matteucci, Stephen. “A Strong Tower For Weary People: Calvin’s Teaching on Prayer.” Founders Journal 69 (Summer 2007): 19–24.

Mazaheri, John H. “Calvin[’s] and Augustine’s Interpretations of ‘The Father in Heaven.’” Revue D’histoire Ecclésiastique 106, no. 3–4 (2011): 440–51.

———. “John Calvin’s Teaching on the Lord’s Prayer.” In The Lord’s Prayer: Perspectives for Reclaiming Christian Prayer, edited by Daniel L. Migliore, 88–106. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1993.

Murr, Barry. “Treasure in Plain Sight: Prayer in John Calvin’s Theology.” Vision, September 1, 2006.

Parsons, Michael. “John Calvin on the Strength of Our Weak Praying.” Evangelical Review of Theology 36, no. 1 (January 2012): 48–60.

Pitkin, Barbara. “Imitation of David: David as a Paradigm for Faith in Calvin’s Exegesis of the Psalms.” The Sixteenth Century Journal 24, no. 4 (Winter 1993): 843–64.

Ware, Bruce A. “The Role of Prayer and the Word in the Christian Life According to John Calvin.” Studia Biblica et Theologica 12 (1982): 73–91.

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