Questions 181-190

Q. 181. Why are we to pray in the name of Christ?
A. The sinfulness of man, and his distance from God by reason thereof, being so great, as that we can have no access into his presence without a mediator;[1164] and there being none in heaven or earth appointed to, or fit for, that glorious work but Christ alone,[1165] we are to pray in no other name but his only.[1166]

Q. 182. How doth the Spirit help us to pray?
A. We not knowing what to pray for as we ought, the Spirit helpeth our infirmities, by enabling us to understand both for whom, and what, and how prayer is to be made; and by working and quickening in our hearts (although not in all persons, nor at all times, in the same measure) those apprehensions, affections, and graces which are requisite for the right performance of that duty.[1167]

Q. 183. For whom are we to pray?
A. We are to pray for the whole church of Christ upon earth;[1168] for magistrates,[1169] and ministers;[1170] for ourselves,[1171] our brethren,[1172] yea, our enemies;[1173] and for all sorts of men living,[1174] or that shall live hereafter;[1175] but not for the dead,[1176] nor for those that are known to have sinned the sin unto death.[1177]

Q. 184. For what things are we to pray?
A. We are to pray for all things tending to the glory of God,[1178] the welfare of the church,[1179] our own[1180] or others, good;[1181] but not for anything that is unlawful.[1182]

Q. 185. How are we to pray?
A. We are to pray with an awful apprehension of the majesty of God,[1183] and deep sense of our own unworthiness,[1184] necessities,[1185] and sins;[1186] with penitent,[1187] thankful,[1188] and enlarged hearts;[1189] with understanding,[1190] faith,[1191] sincerity,[1192] fervency,[1193] love,[1194] and perseverance,[1195] waiting upon him,[1196] with humble submission to his will.[1197]

Q. 186. What rule hath God given for our direction in the duty of prayer?
A. The whole Word of God is of use to direct us in the duty of prayer;[1198] but the special rule of direction is that form of prayer which our Savior Christ taught his disciples, commonly called The Lord’s Prayer.[1199]

Q. 187. How is the Lord’s Prayer to be used?
A. The Lord’s Prayer is not only for direction, as a pattern, according to which we are to make other prayers; but may also be used as a prayer, so that it be done with understanding, faith, reverence, and other graces necessary to the right performance of the duty of prayer.[1200]

Q. 188. Of how many parts doth the Lord’s Prayer consist?
A. The Lord’s Prayer consists of three parts; a preface, petitions, and a conclusion.

Q. 189. What doth the preface of the Lord’s Prayer teach us?
A. The preface of the Lord’s Prayer (contained in these words, Our Father which art in heaven,[1201]) teacheth us, when we pray, to draw near to God with confidence of his fatherly goodness, and our interest therein;[1202] with reverence, and all other childlike dispositions,[1203] heavenly affections,[1204] and due apprehensions of his sovereign power, majesty, and gracious condescension:[1205] as also, to pray with and for others.[1206]

Q. 190. What do we pray for in the first petition?
A. In the first petition, (which is, Hallowed by thy name,[1207]) acknowledging the utter inability and indisposition that is in ourselves and all men to honor God aright,[1208] we pray, that God would by his grace enable and incline us and others to know, to acknowledge, and highly to esteem him,[1209] his titles,[1210] attributes,[1211] ordinances, Word,[1212] works, and whatsoever he is pleased to make himself known by;[1213] and to glorify him in thought, word,[1214] and deed:[1215] that he would prevent and remove atheism,[1216] ignorance,[1217] idolatry,[1218] profaneness,[1219] and whatsoever is dishonorable to him;[1220] and, by his over-ruling providence, direct and dispose of all things to his own glory.[1221]

Scripture Proofs

[1164] John 14:6. Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. Isaiah 59:2. But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. Ephesians 3:12. In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.

[1165] John 6:27. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. Hebrews 7:25-27. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. 1 Timothy 2:5. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

[1166] Colossians 3:17. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. Hebrews 13:15. By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

[1167] Romans 8:26-27. Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. Psalm 10:17. LORD, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear. Zechariah 12:10. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.

[1168] Ephesians 6:18. Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints. Psalm 28:9. Save thy people, and bless thine inheritance: feed them also, and lift them up for ever.

[1169] 1 Timothy 2:1-2. I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

[1170] Colossians 4:3. Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds.

[1171] Genesis 32:11. Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children.

[1172] James 5:16. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

[1173] Matthew 5:44. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.

[1174] 1 Timothy 2:1-2. I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

[1175] John 17:20. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word. 2 Samuel 7:29. Therefore now let it please thee to bless the house of thy servant, that it may continue for ever before thee: for thou, O Lord GOD, hast spoken it: and with thy blessing let the house of thy servant be blessed for ever.

[1176] 2 Samuel 12:21-23. Then said his servants unto him, What thing is this that thou hast done? thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread. And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether GOD will be gracious to me, that the child may live? But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.

[1177] 1 John 5:16. If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.

[1178] Matthew 6:9. After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

[1179] Psalm 51:18. Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem. Psalm 122:6. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.

[1180] Matthew 7:11. If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

[1181] Psalm 125:4. Do good, O LORD, unto those that be good, and to them that are upright in their hearts.

[1182] 1 John 5:14. And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us.

[1183] Ecclesiastes 5:1. Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil.

[1184] Genesis 18:27. And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes. Genesis 32:10. I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast showed unto thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands.

[1185] Luke 15:17-19. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.

[1186] Luke 18:13-14. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

[1187] Psalm 51:17. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

[1188] Philippians 4:6. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

[1189] 1 Samuel 1:15. And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the LORD. 1 Samuel 2:1. And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the LORD, mine horn is exalted in the LORD: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation.

[1190] 1 Corinthians 14:15. What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.

[1191] Mark 11:24. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. James 1:6. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

[1192] Psalm 145:18. The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth. Psalm 17:1. Hear the right, O LORD, attend unto my cry, give ear unto my prayer, that goeth not out of feigned lips.

[1193] James 5:16. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

[1194] 1 Timothy 2:8. I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.

[1195] Ephesians 6:18. Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.

[1196] Micah 7:7. Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me.

[1197] Matthew 26:39. And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

[1198] 1 John 5:14. And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us.

[1199] Matthew 6:9-13. After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. Luke 11:2-4. And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.

[1200] Matthew 6:9. After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Luke 11:2. And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.

[1201] Matthew 6:9. After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

[1202] Luke 11:13. If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? Romans 8:15. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

[1203] Isaiah 64:9. Be not wroth very sore, O LORD, neither remember iniquity for ever: behold, see, we beseech thee, we are all thy people.

[1204] Psalm 123:1. Unto thee lift I up mine eyes, O thou that dwellest in the heavens. Lamentations 3:41. Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens.

[1205] Isaiah 63:15-16. Look down from heaven, and behold from the habitation of thy holiness and of thy glory: where is thy zeal and thy strength, the sounding of thy bowels and of thy mercies toward me? are they restrained? Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou, O LORD, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting. Nehemiah 1:4-6. And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven, And said, I beseech thee, O LORD God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments: Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father’s house have sinned.

[1206] Acts 12:5. Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.

[1207] Matthew 6:9. After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

[1208] 2 Corinthians 3:5. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God. Psalm 51:15. O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall show forth thy praise.

[1209] Psalm 67:2-3. That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations. Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee.

[1210] Psalm 83:18. That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.

[1211] Psalm 86:10-13, 15. For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone. Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name. I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore. For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell…. But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.

[1212] 2 Thessalonians 3:1. Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you. Psalm 147:19-20. He showeth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the LORD. Psalm 138:1-3. I will praise thee with my whole heart: before the gods will I sing praise unto thee. I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name. In the day when I cried thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul. 2 Corinthians 2:14-15. Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish.

[1213] Psalm 145. I will extol thee, my God, O king, etc. Psalm 8. O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth, etc.

[1214] Psalm 103:1. Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Psalm 19:14. Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

[1215] Philippians 1:9, 11. And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment…. Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.

[1216] Psalm 67:1-4. God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah. That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations. Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth. Selah.

[1217] Ephesians 1:17-18. That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.

[1218] Psalm 97:7. Confounded be all they that serve graven images, that boast themselves of idols: worship him, all ye gods.

[1219] Psalm 74:18, 22-23. Remember this, that the enemy hath reproached, O LORD, and that the foolish people have blasphemed thy name…. Arise, O God, plead thine own cause: remember how the foolish man reproacheth thee daily. Forget not the voice of thine enemies: the tumult of those that rise up against thee increaseth continually.

[1220] 2 Kings 19:15-16. And Hezekiah prayed before the LORD, and said, O LORD God of Israel, which dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; thou hast made heaven and earth. LORD, bow down thine ear, and hear: open, LORD, thine eyes, and see: and hear the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent him to reproach the living God.

[1221] 2 Chronicles 20:6, 10-12. And said, O LORD God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?… And now, behold, the children of Ammon and Moab and mount Seir, whom thou wouldest not let Israel invade, when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them, and destroyed them not; Behold, I say, how they reward us, to come to cast us out of thy possession, which thou hast given us to inherit. O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee. Psalm 83. Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, etc. Psalm 140:4, 8. Keep me, O LORD, from the hands of the wicked; preserve me from the violent man; who have purposed to overthrow my goings…. Grant not, O LORD, the desires of the wicked: further not his wicked device; lest they exalt themselves. Selah.

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