In this excerpt from his catechism for children, Catholic theologian Juan de Valdés (1509-1541) takes an expansive view of the spiritual disciplines. The whole of the Christian life, he argues, should be characterized by prayer and fellowship, in all things seeking reconciliation with the Lord by fasting from the lusts of the flesh and feasting on the joy found through peace in Christ.

Our Life Is a Prayer Before God

That the whole life of a Christian should be a continual prayer, for his mind is necessarily kept in constant communion with God and with Christ, desirous of the glory of God and of Christ; a continual fast, for one ought always to be attentive to abstaining from things that inflate the flesh with pride against the spirit, such as the excesses of the table, vanity in dress and the joys and pleasures of the world; a continual feast, for one must always be inwardly glad and rejoice in virtue of the peace that one finds in one’s conscience through reconciliation with God, which one enjoys through Christ.

Christian Instruction for Children, citing Romans 12:1.

Romans 9-16, eds. Philip D.W. Krey and Peter D.S. Krey. Reformation Commentary on Scripture, NT vol. VIII, p. 120.

RCS Series: Spiritual Disciplines


Leupold Scharnschlager | Christians Must Meet Regularly

Johann Spangenberg | Knock on God’s Door with the Hammer of Prayer

Phillip Melanchthon | Daniel and Confession

John Calvin | Fasting and Signs of Humility

Desiderius Erasmus | The Spirit Produced a Supernatural Unity

Johannes Brenz | Good Works Are Our Duty, Not Our Merit

Konrad Pellikan | The Blessing of Giving

John Donne | The Sweet Honey of the Word of God

Tilemann Hesshus | For As Often As You Eat This Bread

Juan de Valdés | Our Life Is a Prayer Before God