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Westminster Shorter Catechism 99

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 Christian is more than a sinner who has been forgiven. They are the sinner declared both righteous and a child of God. We could say “the forensic leads to the relational”. The relational aspect of worship and prayer fills the life of the Christian. And prayer isn’t only for the individual but for the corporate as well. Prayer is a command from God (“pray without ceasing,” 1 Thessalonians 5:17) and thus sometimes we pray even when we don’t understand how it will turn out. We continue to be obedient in prayer and it fosters that fellowship with our heavenly Father. 

Prayer is such a blessing to the life of the Christian that it is a mystery how something so special and unique could go to the wayside. In the discipline of prayer Christians can find comfort that a model of prayer is given to them in Scripture. Christ specifically gives this to us in the Lord’s prayer. After warning against empty utterances which have no meaning, Jesus provides a form that is not empty. It’s content dictates what is pleasing to the Lord as Christians present themselves as humble petitioning citizens before the throne of their King.

The Lord’s prayer is composed of two sections. The first section is adoration and the other is supplication. We adore God because he is our sovereign. He is our king. He is our great redeemer who has shown us his great love. Our adoration is not only for the specific work he has done in our salvation but in the general work of his creation and providence. Our adoration shows the high esteem we hold God in. Adoration is a praise of the finished work of Christ and for the great works that will be done in his kingdom in the future.

Adoration is the glorious praise and thanks for the works of the God in the world and kingdom of heaven. Our supplications are the requests of the citizens in the kingdom that are brought to the king of heaven. Requests are not only those great big works such as salvation, but even what would be considered mundane requests such as bread. The two parts of the Lord’s prayer brought together portray a picture of total dependence on their sovereign Lord. The prayer as a whole serves as a reminder that all of our life comes from God, from the big things like salvation to the smaller and often taken for granted ones like food and shelter.

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