Q: 116. Why is prayer necessary for Christians?
A: Because it is the chief part of thankfulness which God requires of us and also, because God will give his grace and Holy Spirit to those only, who with sincere desires continually ask them of him, and are thankful for them.
Q: 117. What are the requisites of that prayer, which is acceptable to God, and which he will hear?
A: First, that we from the heart pray to the one true God only, who has manifested himself in his word, for all things, he has commanded us to ask of him; secondly, that we rightly and thoroughly know our need and misery, that so we may deeply humble ourselves in the presence of his divine majesty; thirdly, that we be fully persuaded that he, notwithstanding that we are unworthy of it, will, for the sake of Christ our Lord, certainly hear our prayer, as he has promised us in his word.
Q: 118. What has God commanded us to ask of him?
A: All things necessary for soul and body; which Christ our Lord has comprised in that prayer he himself has taught us. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Q: 119. What are the words of that prayer?
A: Our Father which are in heaven, 1 Hallowed be thy name. 2 Thy kingdom come. 3 Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. 4 Give us this day our daily bread. 5 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 6 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
Q: 120. Why has Christ commanded us to address God thus: “Our Father”?
A: That immediately, in the very beginning of our prayer, he might excite in us a childlike reverence for, and confidence in God, which are the foundation of our prayer: namely, that God is become our Father in Christ, and will much less deny us what we ask of him in true faith, than our parents will refuse us earthly things.
Q: 121. Why is it here added, “Which are in heaven”?
A: Lest we should form any earthly conceptions of God’s heavenly majesty, and that we may expect from his almighty power all things necessary for soul and body.
Q: 122. Which is the first petition?
A: “Hallowed be thy name”; that is, grant us, first, rightly to know you, and to sanctify, glorify and praise you, in all thy works, in which thy power, wisdom, goodness, justice, mercy and truth, are clearly displayed; and further also, that we may so order and direct our whole lives, our thoughts, words and actions, that thy name may never be blasphemed, but rather honored and praised on our account.
Q: 123. Which is the second petition?
A: “Thy kingdom come”; that is, rule us so by thy word and Spirit, that we may submit ourselves more and more to you; preserve and increase thy church; destroy the works of the devil, and all violence which would exalt itself against you; and also all wicked counsels devised against thy holy word; till the full perfection of thy kingdom take place, wherein you shall be all in all.
Q: 124. Which is the third petition?
A: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”; that is, grant that we and all men may renounce our own will, and without murmuring obey thy will, which is only good; that every one may attend to, and perform the duties of his station and calling, as willingly and faithfully as the angels do in heaven.
Q: 125. Which is the fourth petition?
A: “Give us this day our daily bread”; that is, be pleased to provide us with all things necessary for the body, that we may thereby acknowledge you to be the only fountain of all good, and that neither our care nor industry, nor even thy gifts, can profit us without thy blessing; and therefore that we may withdraw our trust from all creatures, and place it alone in you.
Q: 126. Which is the fifth petition?
A: “And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors”; that is, be pleased for the sake of Christ’s blood, not to impute to us poor sinners, our transgressions, nor that depravity, which always cleaves to us; even as we feel this evidence of thy grace in us, that it is our firm resolution from the heart to forgive our neighbor.
Q: 127. Which is the sixth petition?
A: “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil”; that is, since we are so weak in ourselves, that we cannot stand a moment; and besides this, since our mortal enemies, the devil, the world, and our own flesh, cease not to assault us, do you therefore preserve and strengthen us by the power of thy Holy Spirit, that we may not be overcome in this spiritual warfare, but constantly and strenuously may resist our foes, till at last we obtain a complete victory.
Q: 128. How do you conclude your prayer?
A: “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever”; that is, all these we ask of you, because you, being our King and almighty, are willing and able to give us all good; and all this we pray for, that thereby not we, but thy holy name, may be glorified forever.
Q: 129. What does the word “Amen” signify?
A: “Amen” signifies, it shall truly and certainly be: for my prayer is more assuredly heard of God, than I feel in my heart that I desire these things of him. For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. If we believe not, yet he is faithful: he cannot deny himself.