Westminster Larger Catechism Questions 187-196

19 Jun

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]

Q. 191. What do we pray for in the second petition?

A. In the second petition, (which is, Thy kingdom come,[1222]) acknowledging ourselves and all mankind to be by nature under the dominion of sin and Satan,[1223] we pray, that the kingdom of sin and Satan may be destroyed,[1224] the gospel propagated throughout the world,[1225] the Jews called,[1226] the fullness of the Gentiles brought in;[1227] the church furnished with all gospel-officers and ordinances,[1228] purged from corruption,[1229] countenanced and maintained by the civil magistrate:[1230] that the ordinances of Christ may be purely dispensed, and made effectual to the converting of those that are yet in their sins, and the confirming, comforting, and building up of those that are already converted:[1231] that Christ would rule in our hearts here,[1232] and hasten the time of his second coming, and our reigning with him forever:[1233] and that he would be pleased so to exercise the kingdom of his power in all the world, as may best conduce to these ends.[1234]

Q. 192. What do we pray for in the third petition?

A. In the third petition, (which is, Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven,[1235]) acknowledging, that by nature we and all men are not only utterly unable and unwilling to know and do the will of God,[1236] but prone to rebel against his Word,[1237] to repine and murmur against his providence,[1238] and wholly inclined to do the will of the flesh, and of the devil:[1239] we pray, that God would by his Spirit take away from ourselves and others all blindness,[1240] weakness,[1241] indisposedness,[1242] and perverseness of heart;[1243] and by his grace make us able and willing to know, do, and submit to his will in all things,[1244] with the like humility,[1245] cheerfulness,[1246] faithfulness,[1247] diligence,[1248] zeal,[1249] sincerity,[1250] and constancy,[1251] as the angels do in heaven.[1252]

Q. 193. What do we pray for in the fourth petition?

A. In the fourth petition,(which is, Give us this day our daily bread,[1253]) acknowledging, that in Adam, and by our own sin, we have forfeited our right to all the outward blessings of this life, and deserve to be wholly deprived of them by God, and to have them cursed to us in the use of them;[1254] and that neither they of themselves are able to sustain us,[1255] nor we to merit,[1256] or by our own industry to procure them;[1257] but prone to desire,[1258] get,[1259] and use them unlawfully:[1260] we pray for ourselves and others, that both they and we, waiting upon the providence of God from day to day in the use of lawful means, may, of his free gift, and as to his fatherly wisdom shall seem best, enjoy a competent portion of them;[1261] and have the same continued and blessed unto us in our holy and comfortable use of them,[1262] and contentment in them;[1263] and be kept from all things that are contrary to our temporal support and comfort.[1264]

Q. 194. What do we pray for in the fifth petition?

A. In the fifth petition, (which is, Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors,[1265]) acknowledging, that we and all others are guilty both of original and actual sin, and thereby become debtors to the justice of God; and that neither we, nor any other creature, can make the least satisfaction for that debt:[1266] we pray for ourselves and others, that God of his free grace would, through the obedience and satisfaction of Christ, apprehended and applied by faith, acquit us both from the guilt and punishment of sin,[1267] accept us in his Beloved;[1268] continue his favour and grace to us,[1269] pardon our daily failings,[1270] and fill us with peace and joy, in giving us daily more and more assurance of forgiveness;[1271] which we are the rather emboldened to ask, and encouraged to expect, when we have this testimony in ourselves, that we from the heart forgive others their offenses.[1272]

Q. 195. What do we pray for in the sixth petition?

A. In the sixth petition, (which is, And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,[1273]) acknowledging, that the most wise, righteous, and gracious God, for divers holy and just ends, may so order things, that we may be assaulted, foiled, and for a time led captive by temptations;[1274] that Satan,[1275] the world,[1276] and the flesh, are ready powerfully to draw us aside, and ensnare us;[1277] and that we, even after the pardon of our sins, by reason of our corruption,[1278] weakness, and want of watchfulness,[1279] are not only subject to be tempted, and forward to expose ourselves unto temptations,[1280] but also of ourselves unable and unwilling to resist them, to recover out of them, and to improve them;[1281] and worthy to be left under the power of them:[1282] we pray, that God would so overrule the world and all in it,[1283] subdue the flesh,[1284] and restrain Satan,[1285] order all things,[1286] bestow and bless all means of grace,[1287] and quicken us to watchfulness in the use of them, that we and all his people may by his providence be kept from being tempted to sin;[1288] or, if tempted, that by his Spirit we may be powerfully supported and enabled to stand in the hour of temptation;[1289] or when fallen, raised again and recovered out of it,[1290] and have a sanctified use and improvement thereof:[1291] that our sanctification and salvation may be perfected,[1292] Satan trodden under our feet,[1293] and we fully freed from sin, temptation, and all evil, forever.[1294]

Q. 196. What doth the conclusion of the Lord’s Prayer teach us?

A. The conclusion of the Lord’s Prayer, (which is, For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.[1295]) teacheth us to enforce our petitions with arguments,[1296] which are to be taken, not from any worthiness in ourselves, or in any other creature, but from God;[1297] and with our prayers to join praises,[1298] ascribing to God alone eternal sovereignty, omnipotency, and glorious excellency;[1299] in regard whereof, as he is able and willing to help us,[1300] so we by faith are emboldened to plead with him that he would,[1301] and quietly to rely upon him, that he will fulfil our requests.[1302] And, to testify this our desire and assurance, we say, Amen.[1303]

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