Woznicki, Christopher. “Is Prayer Redundant? Calvin and the Early Reformers on the Problem of Petitionary Prayer,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 60.2 (2017): 333-348.
Filling a glaring gap in Reformation studies addressing the problems of petitionary prayer, this essay turns to the work of John Calvin and his fellow reformers in order to fill that gap. I argue that despite rejecting a two-way contingency account of prayer, Calvin and most of his contemporaries make a case for prayer being a worthwhile and effective spiritual practice by appealing to something other than prayer’s role in giving God reasons to act. These Reformers argued against the redundancy of prayer by appealing to the change that happens in the praying agent. The argument of this essay is carried out with special reference to contemporary analytic theology accounts of petitionary prayer.
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