Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 45 image

Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 45

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[My favourite section of the Heidelberg Catechism is the last one, in which the questions and answers focus on the topic of prayer. Maybe that's because it is so intensely practical in its advice; perhaps it's because it comes immediately after the Ten Commandments, and as such feels spiritually refreshing after a more rigorous section. In any event, the discussion is so warm and helpful, it would benefit any believer. Why pray? To thank God, and to receive gifts from him (which only come to those who pray). How do we pray? To God alone, in humility, and in confidence of being heard. What do we pray for? Everything we need, as explained in the Lord's Prayer. Marvellous.]

Q116. Why do Christians need to pray?

A116. Because prayer is the most important part
of the thankfulness God requires of us.
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 God for them.

Q117. What is the kind of prayer
that pleases God and that he listens to?

A117. First, we must pray from the heart
to no other than the one true God,
revealed to us in his Word,
asking for everything God has commanded us to ask for.
Second, we must fully recognize our need and misery,
so that we humble ourselves in God’s majestic presence.
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 God promised us in his Word.

Q118. What did God command us to pray for?

A118. Everything we need, spiritually and physically,
as embraced in the prayer
Christ our Lord himself taught us.

Q119. What is this prayer?

A119. Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your 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 do not bring us to the time of trial,
but rescue us from the evil one.
For the kingdom
and the power
and the glory are yours forever.
Amen.

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