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Lesson #98—Prayer: An Offering to God

Wednesday, March 2, 2011, 6:00
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Lesson #98: Prayer: An Offering to God


Shorter Catechism Q & A #98

Q. What is prayer?

A. Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God, for things agreeable to his will, in the name of Christ, with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgment of his mercies.

Memorize Q&A—Exposition

Let us so learn to pray that our words and petitions would reflect the glory of our Savior. Let us give praise to our Advocate by consciously placing our prayers in His hands to be delivered to our Father who is in heaven. John Bunyan wrote, “Prayer is a sincere, sensible, affectionate pouring out of the heart or soul to God, through Christ, in the strength and assistance of the Holy Spirit, for such things as God has promised, or according to the Word, for the good of the church, with submission in faith to the will of God.”

What does it mean?

Prayer is an offering to God: Psalm 62:8

Prayer asks for things agreeable to God’s will: 1 John 5:14

Prayer speaks to the Father in the name of Christ the Son: John 16:23, Heb. 10:19–22

What is our practice?

Prayer is made upon the knees of humility before God, confessing our sins (Ps.32:5-6, Dan. 9:4, Ps. 51:1–4).

We acknowledge, in prayer, that all things come by the mercy of God (Phil. 4:6, with thanksgiving; Ps. 149:4, God’s good pleasure; Gal. 3:29, precious promises; Eph. 1:7, God’s rich grace).

The eyes of our hearts must rest squarely upon our Father, in Christ, just as we make eye contact with our loved ones in conversation.

Quotes for thought and discussion:

“God is not weary of giving; the springs of mercy are ever running. He not only dispensed blessings in former ages, but he gives gifts to us; … The honeycomb of God’s bounty is still

dropping.” (Thomas Watson)

I commend to Thee my spirit: Psalm 31:5 “It is true that David said that, being in the midst of dangers. As if he said, ‘Lord, hold me in Thy protection; for my soul is as it were between my hands; it is there as it were fluttering. For I see myself exposed to all hazards; my life is as it were hanging from a thread. It does not remain, then, unless Thou takest me into Thy keeping.’ That is how David by this prayer constituted God as his Protector. However, he did not leave it until death itself to call upon God, and to be assured that always God is the Savior of His elect, not only to maintain and guard them in this world, but also when He withdraws them to Himself. For the principal guard that God keeps over us is that being withdrawn from this world we are hidden under His wings to rejoice in His presence, as St. Paul speaks of it in 2 Corinthians 4:3).” (John Calvin, Sermon on Deity of Christ)

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