Thursday, November 3, 2022

How Shall We Pray?

Question 99: What rule hath God given for our direction in prayer?
Answer: The whole Word of God is of use to direct us in prayer; but the special rule of direction is that form of prayer which Christ taught his disciples, commonly called The Lord’s Prayer. (WSC)
All of God’s word helps us to pray rightly. Prayer is a response of faith to God’s word. It is useful when reading Scripture to pray in response to it. When it gives commands, ask for forgiveness for breaking them and ask for grace and wisdom to obey them. When it gives promises, express faith in them and beseech God to fulfill them. When it describes God’s attributes and works, praise and thank him for them and appeal to them. The book of Psalms and the various prayers recorded elsewhere in Scripture are especially helpful in teaching us how to pray.

In particular, Jesus taught his disciples how to pray using what we call the Lord’s Prayer. Observing his commands on how to pray is part of our discipleship. Jesus teaches us to pray this prayer, with understanding and faith, as well as to use it as a model for our prayers (Matt. 6:9, Luke 11:2).

By teaching you how to pray, Jesus also directs your desires and gives you your priorities. Because of our depravity, our priorities are messed up and our desires are confused and corrupt. But as a good teacher, Jesus shows you what is important and what you should desire. Prayer is an offering up of our desires to God, and so if we ought to offer up these requests, then these requests ought to be our desires. And through prayer, these desires are deepened.

In this prayer, Jesus also shows you what to expect. He teaches you that these are not vain wishes. You will not receive them all at once, but they will come to pass for his disciples. These things are God’s will which he will accomplish in response to the prayers of his people. So in the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus teaches you how to pray, what is important, and what to expect by faith.

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