It is, therefore, by the benefit of prayer that we reach those riches which are laid up for us with the Heavenly Father. For there is a communion of men with God by which, having entered the heavenly sanctuary, they appeal to him in person concerning his promises in order to experience, where necessity so demands, that what they believed was not vain, although he had promised it in word alone. Therefore we see that to us nothing is promised to be expected from the Lord, which we are not also bidden to ask of him in prayers.John Calvin, Institutes, 3.20.2
First, that our hearts may be inflamed with continual fear, honor, and love of God, to whom we run for support and help whensoever danger or necessity requires; that we so learning to [make known] our desires in His presence, He may teach us what is to be desired, and what not.
Second, that we, knowing our petitions to be granted by God alone (to Him only we must render and give laud and praise), and that we, ever having His infinite goodness fixed in our minds, may constantly abide to receive that which with fervent prayer we desire.John Knox, “A Treatise on Prayer,” in Select Writings, 75.
The perfect law of God requires only this: complete love without the least defect—all the heart, all the soul, and all the might. A corrupt grain makes the whole unacceptable, as one condition not observed forfeits the whole lease, though all the rest be kept. … We are bound to strive after [this perfect law] … We cannot arrive to the perfectness of the glorified estate, but we are pressing towards it. Allowed failings cannot stand with sincerity … he that cares not how little God be loved, provided he may be saved, does not sincerely love God. A true Christian will endeavour a constant progress, and aim at no less than perfection. Christians, this is still your rule, all the heart and all the soul, and all the might. The Lord has such a full right to your love, that coldness is a kind of a hatred, and the grace which we received in conversion will urge us to it … The whole latitude of understanding, will, and affections is due to Him, without division or derivation to other things.Thomas Manton (Works 13:171)
As a young man or woman, you must constantly fight off the temptation to forget about the brevity of life and the vanity of even the longest life lived apart from God’s will. You must learn from the Scriptures that your life is less than a vapor. You must become convinced of this truth, and then you must set it before you as a constant reminder. You are mortal and your days are numbered! (See Psalm 39:4; 90:12; 103:15; James 4:14).
Keeping your mortality at the forefront of your thoughts is not for the purpose of being morbid or lamenting as those who have no hope, but to compel you to hope in Christ alone and to give yourself wholeheartedly to His will for your life. Only in Christ is the grave swallowed up in victory and temporal futility replaced by God’s eternal and glorious purpose for you.Paul Washer, A Word To the Young