Lord’s Day Schedule‚Ä°

  • Sabbath School—9:45 a.m.
  • Morning Worship—10:45 a.m.
  • Afternoon Worship—2:00 p.m.
  • ‡ Regular schedule temporarily suspended.

Notes from Sabbath School: WLC #185

Notes from Sabbath School on the Larger Catechism, WLC #185 — How are we to pray?

WLC #185 — Q. How are we to pray?
A: We are to pray with an awful apprehension of the majesty of God,1 and deep sense of our own unworthiness,2 necessities,3 and sins;4 with penitent,5 thankful,6 and enlarged hearts;7 with understanding,8 faith,9 sincerity,10 fervency,11 love,12 and perseverance,13 waiting upon him,14 with humble submission to his will.15
  1. Praying with an “awful apprehension of the majesty of God.”

    • Awful: literally, full of awe; a reverential fear.
    • Apprehension: realisation or awareness.
    • Majesty: “absolute, infinite greatness and separation from all created beings.” (Vos, p. 534)
  2. This awful awareness of God’s majesty is pressed upon us from two directions.

    • First, we are mere creatures who should have no access whatsoever to the Creator apart from his kind condescension to attend to us. “LORD, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him! or the son of man, that thou makest account of him!” (Ps. 144:3)
    • Second, our sins have further intensified our separation from the one true God. “Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity….” (Hab. 1:13a)
    • It is with a proper awareness of this reality that we may marvel at the invitation we have received to pray!
  3. Self-centred, man-centred modern Christianity has taught against reverential prayer, urging a casual familiarity as the proper attitude for prayer. But holy reverence is the only biblical way to have a true intimacy with God in prayer.

  4. Our unworthiness.

    • It was only by God’s kind condescension that human beings were granted any access to Him at all, even from the creation. We can make no demand to be heard.
    • How much more unworthy are we now that our sinfulness separates us from God. “(A)s sinners, we are not only undeserving, but actually ill-deserving.” (Vos, p. 535)
  5. Our necessities.

    • We must pray with a deep sense of our own neediness.
    • Prayer is a spiritual discipline that reminds us of our complete dependence upon God, and causes us to express that dependence before the One who is the ultimate source of all that we need.
  6. Our sinfulness.

    • We can only approach God rightly in prayer if we approach in humbly through Christ. We can only do that if we recognise that our sinfulness would prevent our approaching God in prayer were it not for Christ’s salvific work on our behalf.
    • A lack of this awareness will lead to self-righteousness in prayer.
  7. Penitent, thankful, and enlarged hearts.

    • Penitent: “…mercy is promised to those who not only confess their sins, but sincerely desire to forsake them.” (Vos, 536)
    • Thankful: “…to fail to feel thankful for [our many blessings] would be to add the sin of ingratitude to our other sins.” (Vos, 536)
    • Enlarged hearts: “…with an intense, earnest longing for nearness to God and blessings from him.” (Vos, 536)
  8. Understanding.

    • We must not use prayer as an excuse for delayed obedience (as though we did not understand God’s will when really we do not wish to obey).
    • We must not use prayer as though the mere uttering of certain words to God would have some spiritual merit. We must pray with understanding of the meaning of our words, with conscious intent to pray according to God’s will.
  9. Faith.

    • We must pray with knowledge, ascent, and trust in God, His Word, and the promises found therein.
    • This is not a mere optimism or vague belief in the spiritual realm, but a firm confidence in the true God revealed in Scripture.
    • Without this faith, it is impossible to please God in prayer.
  10. Sincerity, fervency, and love to God.

    • We must not be duplicitous in our prayers. We must not have deceiptful intentions in our prayers. Our prayers must be sincere.
    • We must not be lazy, uninterested, and distracted in our prayers. Our prayers must be fervent.
    • We must not be uncommitted and dispassionate in our prayers. We must pray with love to God.
  11. Humble submission to Divine Sovereignty.

    • Prayer is not a means of “twisting God’s arm.”
    • Prayer must be offered with the attitude of our Saviour who prayed, “nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.”

  1. Ps. 33:8. Let all the earth fear the Lord: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. Ps. 95:6. O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker. Ps. 145:5. I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works. 

  2. Gen. 18:27. And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes. Gen. 32:10. I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou has shewed unto thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands. 

  3. Luke 15:17-19. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. 

  4. Luke 18:13-14. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. 

  5. Ps. 51:17. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart O God, thou wilt not despise. 

  6. Phil. 4:6. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and suplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 

  7. 1 Sam 1:15. And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord. 1 Sam. 2:1. And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the Lord, mine horn is exalted in the Lord: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation. 

  8. 1 Cor. 14:15. What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. 

  9. Mark 11:24. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. James 1:6. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering, For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 

  10. Ps. 145:18. The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth. Ps. 17:1. Hear the right, O Lord, attend unto my cry, give ear unto my prayer, that goeth not out of feigned lips. 

  11. James 5:16. Confess you faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. 

  12. Ps. 116:1-2. I love the Lord, because he hat heard my voice and my supplications. Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live. Rom. 15:30. Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit,that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me. 

  13. Eph. 6:18. … praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints. 

  14. Mic. 7:7. Therefore I will look unto the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me. 

  15. Matt. 26:39. And he went a little farther, and fell on his face and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. 

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