Preparing our Hearts to Worship
In an effort to help you prepare for the April 5, 2020, Sunday morning corporate worship gathering and to aid you in your own reflections on Prayer. I wanted to pose a few questions and provide a few resources to prayerfully consider over the coming days. Our sermon is entitled, “Praying Scripture.” The main Scripture for the day is Matthew 6:9-13.
(Pick and choose from the many resources and options, which I have tried to make available for your devotional life.)
From the Scriptures
The Scripture references are quite significant this week, here are a few to whet your appetite.
Please read through these passages: Matthew 6:9-13, Psalm 103, Daniel 2, 4, Genesis 1, James 1:13-14.
From the Creeds and Confessions
Heidelberg Catechism Q117-118
Q117: What belongs to such prayer as God is pleased with and will hear?
First, that from the heart we call upon the one true God only, who has revealed himself in his Word, for all he has commanded us to ask of him;
Second, that we right thoroughly know our need and misery, in order to humble ourselves before the face of his majesty;
Third, that we be firmly assured that, notwithstanding we are unworthy of it, he will, for the sake of Christ our Lord, certainly hear our prayer as he has promised us in his Word.
Q118: What has God commanded us to ask of him?
All things necessary for soul and body, which Christ our Lord has comprised in the prayer he himself has taught us.
Heidelberg Catechism Q120-129 (for those wanting more)
Why has Christ commanded us to address God thus, Our Father?
To awaken in us, at the very beginning of our prayer, that childlike reverence and trust toward God which should be the ground of our prayer; namely, that God has become our Father through Christ, and will much less deny us what we ask of him in true faith than our parents will refuse us earthly things.
Why is there added, Who art in heaven?
That we may have no earthly thought of the heavenly majesty of God, and may expect from his almighty power all things necessary for body and soul.
What is the first petition?
Hallowed by thy name. That is: grant us, first, rightly to know thee, and to sanctify, glorify, and praise thee in all thy works, in which thy power, wisdom, goodness, justice, mercy, and truth shine forth; further also, that we may so order and direct our whole life, thoughts, words, and actions, that thy Name may not be blasphemed but honored and praised on our account.
What is the second petition?
Thy kingdom come. That is: so rule us by thy Word and Spirit that we may submit ourselves more and more to thee; preserve and increase thy church; destroy the works of the devil, every power that exalts itself against thee, and all wicked counsels conceived against thy holy Word, until the perfection of thy kingdom arrived wherein thou shalt be all in all.
What is the third petition?
Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth. That is: grant that we and all men may renounce our own will, and without any gainsaying obey thy will, which alone is good; that so every one may discharge the duties of his office and calling as willingly and faithfully as the angels in heaven.
What is the fourth petition?
Give us this day our daily bread. That is: be pleased to provide for all our bodily need, that we may thereby acknowledge thee to be the only fountain of all good, and that without thy blessing neither our care and labor nor thy gifts can profit us; and, therefore, that we may withdraw our trust from all creatures and place it alone in thee.
What is the fifth petition?
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. That is: be pleased, for the sake of Christ’s blood, not to impute to us, miserable sinners, any of our transgressions, nor the evil which always cleaves to us; as we also find this witness of thy grace in us that it is our full purpose heartily to forgive our neighbor.
What is the sixth petition?
And bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. That is: since we are so weak in ourselves that we cannot stand a moment, and besides, since our sworn enemies, the devil, the world, and our own flesh, cease not to assault us, be pleased to preserve and strengthen us by the power of thy Holy Spirit, that we may not succumb in this spiritual warfare but always offer strong resistance, till at last we obtain a complete victory.
How do you conclude your prayer?
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory for ever. That is: all this we ask of thee because thou, as our King who hast power over all things, art both willing and able to give us all good, and that thereby not we but Thy holy Name may be glorified for ever.
What does the word Amen signify?
Amen signifies: it shall truly and surely be; for my prayer is more certainly heard of God than I feel in my heart that I desire these things of him.
Westminster Larger Catechism Q186-187
Q186: What rule hath God given for our direction in the duty of prayer?
The whole Word of God is of use to direct us in the duty of prayer; but the special rule of direction is that form of prayer which our Savior Christ taught his disciples, commonly called The Lord’s prayer.
Q187: How is the Lord’s prayer to be used?
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.
For further teaching on the Lord’s Prayer, refer to Q190-Q196 here.
From the songs, hymns and spiritual songs of the Church
For other liturgical resources, prayers, etc. See Here.
For Thoughtful Reflection, Prayer, or further Study
Read and reflect upon Wycliffe’s How to pray Scripture back to God.
For a fairly exhaustive listing of the Prayers in the Old Testament, see here.
The Sermon will be available online on April 5, 2020 at 12:30 pm.
Disclaimer: Reference to a particular article or website does not constitute endorsement or agreement with everything in that article or on that website.