In the Arms of God

David Muyskens

READ : Psalm 131

I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother. (v. 2)

The great reformer John Calvin said that prayer draws us into God’s “bosom” (Institutes of the Christian Religion, III.xx.5). Embraced by loving arms, held close to the heart of God, we pour out our souls. As Psalm 131 expresses it, in prayer we are held at the breast of a loving Parent.

Calvin is best known for his reformed theology. What may not be as well known is that Calvin devoted a large portion of his writing to a discussion of prayer.

Calvin taught that prayer is how we develop an intimate relationship with God. We respond in love to the God who first loved us. We receive the blessings of the One who is the fountain of goodness. In the attitude of prayer we realize that God is “wholly present to us” (Institutes, III.xx.2).

Our prayer flows from “this sweetness of love” (Institutes, III,xx.28). The reformer used the same word to describe our intimacy with God—dulcedo, “sweetness”—as did Catholic mystics like Bernard of Clairvaux or Richard of St. Victor. In prayer all who love God rest in God’s loving arms.


Thank you, God of love, for all who truly love you. Amen.