"Do you think that Heaven would refuse a prayer so disinterested?"
St Dominic in Prayer, 1586-90
Public DomainSt Dominic in Prayer, 1586-90 - Credit: El Greco
On the surface, it may seem paradoxical that someone who believes in predestination should have any faith in the efficacy of prayer, but in fact Calvin was a strong believer in its worth. For him, prayer was an intimate connection between God and the pious through which God’s beneficence was recognised. However, he would have taken a hard view of the Rev. Wringhim’s bids to unveil the workings of divine providence. Acknowledging that people would inevitably be curious as to whether they were amongst God’s elect, he warns fiercely against trying to find out, “For it is not right that man should with impunity pry into things which the Lord has been pleased to conceal within himself” (Institutes).