Putting Pain and Pleasure in their Proper Place through Prayer

In his Institutes, John Calvin said that as fallen sinners, our minds are easily “drawn away from heaven, and pressed down to earth” (3. 10. 4). The pressures of this world and/or our concerns for this world and its amenities usually rise to such a level that we forget there is a forever. In other words, it’s not only pain and heartache that make us near-sighted, it’s also pleasure. As John Piper has written, “The greatest enemy of hunger for God is not poison but apple pie. . . . The greatest adversary of love to God is not his enemies but his gifts.”[1] The best way to overcome this is prayer.

In John Baillie’s Diary of Private Prayer, he prayed,

“O eternal Father . . . Preserve me by Thy grace, good Lord, from so losing myself in the joys of earth that I may have no longing left for the purer joys of heaven. Let not the happiness of this day become a snare to my too worldly heart. . . . And if, instead of happiness, I have today suffered any disappointment or defeat, if there has been any sorrow where I had hoped for joy, or sickness where I had looked for health, give me grace to accept it from Thy hand as a loving reminder that this is not my home.”

Finally, he concludes:

“I thank Thee, O Lord, that Thou hast so set eternity within my heart that no earthly thing can ever satisfy me wholly. I thank Thee that every present joy is so mixed with sadness and unrest as to lead my mind upwards to the contemplation of a more perfect blessedness.”

[1] John Piper, A Hunger for God: Desiring God through Fasting and Prayer (Wheaton: Crossway, 1997), 14.

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One thought on “Putting Pain and Pleasure in their Proper Place through Prayer

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  1. Pastor thankyou for this April 2nd post, I am struggling and I am praying.Yes give me grace to accept from your hand as a loving reminder that

    ‘ this is not my home’

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