19 June 2005
2 Timothy 3:16, 1 John 5:15 & Matthew 6:9
The Westminster Shorter Catechism
Q. 99. What rule hath God given for our direction in prayer?
A. 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.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism in Modern English:
Q.99. How does God direct us to pray?
A. The whole word of God, but especially the Lord’s prayer, which Christ taught His disciples, directs our prayers.
1. How can the whole Word of God be used to direct us in prayer?
The whole Word of God can be of use to us in prayer in that it instructs us of our duties regarding our relationship to God. If we did not have general principles of the Word of God in our minds it would be impossible for us to pray aright (Romans 10:14).
2. Could you give one example as to how a principle of doctrine helps us in our prayer life?
Yes, a good example would be the offices of Jesus Christ. The knowledge that He is our prophet helps us to have the wisdom from Him we need; the knowledge that He is our priest enables us to have an intercessor for our prayers; the knowledge that He is our King teaches us we should live in submission to Him and this certainly includes our disciplining ourselves in prayer.
3. Why do we need direction in our prayer?
We need direction in prayer because even though the disposition of our souls has been turned into holiness by the Holy Spirit we are still sinners and would not seek after God if left to ourselves.
4. Why is it called “The Lord’s Prayer” in our doctrines?
It is called “The Lord’s Prayer” as it was in answer to the disciple’s plea of “Lord, teach us how to pray.”
5. Does the prayer contain all necessary parts of prayer?
No, it does not contain the confession of our sins and thankfulness of God’s mercies.
6. Is this the form of prayer our Lord would have us use?
No, this is simply a pattern of prayer, a direction of how we should pray.