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The Heidelberg Catechism

Prayer

 

Lord's Day 45

 

116 Q.    Why do Christians need to pray? 

 

       A.    Because prayer is the most important part

     of the thankfulness God requires of us.1

And also because God gives his grace and Holy Spirit

only to those who pray continually and groan inwardly,

asking God for these gifts

and thanking him for them.2

 

1 Ps. 50:14-15; 116:12-19; 1 Thess. 5:16-18

2 Matt. 7:7-8; Luke 11:9-13

 

117 Q.    How does God want us to pray so that he will listen to us?

 

       A.    First, we must pray from the heart

to no other than the one true God,

     who has revealed himself in his Word,

asking for everything he has commanded us to ask for.1

 

Second, we must acknowledge our need and misery,

hiding nothing,

and humble ourselves in his majestic presence.2

 

Third, we must rest on this unshakable foundation:

even though we do not deserve it,

God will surely listen to our prayer

     because of Christ our Lord.

That is what he promised us in his Word.3

 

1 Ps. 145:18-20; John 4:22-24; Rom. 8:26-27; James 1:5; 1 John 5:14-15

2 2 Chron. 7:14; Ps. 2:11; 34:18; 62:8; Isa. 66:2; Rev. 4

3 Dan. 9:17-19; Matt. 7:8; John 14:13-14; 16:23; Rom. 10:13; James 1:6

 

118 Q.    What did God command us to pray for?

 

       A.    Everything we need, spiritually and physically,1

as embraced in the prayer

Christ our Lord himself taught us.

 

1 James 1:17; Matt. 6:33

 

119 Q.    What is this prayer?

 

       A.    Our Father who art in heaven,

Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come,

Thy will be done,

     On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread;

And forgive us our debts,

     As we also have forgiven our debtors;

And lead us not into temptation,

     But deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,

     and the power,

     and the glory, forever.

Amen.1*

 

1 Matt. 6:9-13; Luke 11:2-4

* Earlier and better manuscripts of Matthew 6 omit the words "For thine is . . . Amen."

 

 

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