Praying for God’s Will

The Heidelberg Catechism: Lord’s Day 49

124. Question: What is the third petition?

Answer: Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. That is: Grant that we and all men may deny our own will, and without any murmuring obey Thy will, for it alone is good.[1] Grant also that everyone may carry out the duties of his office and calling[2] as willingly and faithfully as the angels in heaven.[3]

[1] Matt. 7:21; 16:24-26; Luke 22:42; Rom. 12:1, 2; Tit. 2:11, 12. [2] I Cor. 7:17-24; Eph. 6:5-9. [3] Ps. 103:20, 21.

Praying for God’s Kingdom

The Heidelberg Catechism: Lord’s Day 48

123. Question: What is the second petition?

Answer: Thy kingdom come. That is: So rule us by Thy Word and Spirit that more and more we submit to Thee.[1] Preserve and increase Thy church.[2] Destroy the works of the devil, every power that raises itself against Thee, and every conspiracy against Thy holy Word.[3] Do all this until the fullness of Thy kingdom comes, wherein Thou shalt be all in all.[4]

[1] Ps. 119:5, 105; 143:10; Matt. 6:33. [2] Ps. 51:18; 122:6-9; Matt. 16:18; Acts 2:42-47. [3] Rom. 16:20; I John 3:8. [4] Rom. 8:22, 23; I Cor. 15:28; Rev. 22: 17, 20.

Knowing God as Holy

The Heidelberg Catechism: Lord’s Day 47

122. Question: What is the first petition?

 Answer: Hallowed be Thy Name. That is: Grant us first of all that we may rightly know Thee,[1] and sanctify, glorify, and praise Thee in all Thy works, in which shine forth Thy almighty power, wisdom, goodness, righteousness, mercy, and truth.[2] Grant us also that we may so direct our whole life– our thoughts, words, and actions– that Thy Name is not blasphemed because of us but always honored and praised.[3]

 [1] Jer. 9:23, 24; 31: 33, 34; Matt. 16:17; John 17:3. [2] Ex. 34:5-8; Ps. 145; Jer. 32:16-20; Luke 1:46-55, 68-75; Rom. 11: 33-36. [3] Ps. 115:1; Matt. 5:16.

Praying to Our Heavenly Father

The Heidelberg Catechism: Lord’s Day 46

120. Question: Why has Christ commanded us to address God as Our Father?

Answer: To awaken in us at the very beginning of our prayer that childlike reverence and trust toward God which should be basic to our prayer: God has become our Father through Christ and will much less deny us what we ask of Him in faith than our fathers would refuse us earthly things.[1]

[1] Matt. 7:9-11; Luke 11:11-13.

121. Question: Why the words “in heaven”?

Answer: These words teach us not to think of God’s heavenly majesty as something earthly, [1] and to expect everything for body and soul from his almighty power.[2]

[1] Jer. 23:23-24; Acts 17:24-25 [2] Matt. 6:25-34; Rom. 8:31-32

Introducing Prayer

The Heidelberg Catechism: Lord’s Day 45

116. Question: Why is prayer necessary for Christians?

Answer: Because prayer is the most important part of the thankfulness which God requires of us.[1] Moreover, God will give His grace and the Holy Spirit only to those who constantly and with heartfelt longing ask Him for these gifts and thank Him for them.[2]

[1] Ps. 50:14, 15; 116:12-19; I Thess. 5:16-18. [2] Matt. 7:7, 8; Luke 11:9-13.

117. Question: What belongs to a prayer which pleases God and is heard by Him?

Answer: First, we must from the heart call upon the one true God only, who has revealed Himself in His Word, for all that He has commanded us to pray.[1] Second, we must thoroughly know our need and misery, so that we may humble ourselves before God.[2] Third, we must rest on this firm foundation that, although we do not deserve it, God will certainly hear our prayer for the sake of Christ our Lord, as He has promised us in His Word.[3]

[1] Ps. 145:18-20; John 4:22-24; Rom. 8:26, 27; James 1:5; I John 5:14, 15; Rev. 19:10. [2] II Chron. 7:14; 20:12; Ps. 2:11; 34:18; 62:8; Is. 66:2; Rev. 4. [3] Dan. 9:17-19; Matt. 7:8; John 14:13, 14; 16:23; Rom. 10:13; James 1:6.

118. Question: What has God commanded us to ask of Him?

Answer: All the things we need for body and soul,[1] as included in the prayer which Christ our Lord Himself taught us.

[1] Matt. 6:33; James 1:17.

119. Question: What is the Lord’s prayer?

Answer: Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name. Thy kingdom come, Thy 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 lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.[1]

[1] Matt. 6:9-13; Luke 11:2-4.

Coveting and Purpose of the Law

The Heidelberg Catechism: Lord’s Day 44

113. Question: What does the tenth commandment require of us?

Answer: That not even the slightest thought or desire contrary to any of God’s commandments should ever arise in our heart. Rather, we should always hate all sin with all our heart, and delight in all righteousness.[1]

[1] Ps. 19:7-14; 139:23, 24; Rom. 7:7, 8.

114. Question: But can those converted to God keep these commandments perfectly?

Answer: No. In this life even the holiest have only a small beginning of this obedience.[1] Nevertheless, with earnest purpose they do begin to live not only according to some but to all the commandments of God.[2]

[1] Eccles. 7:20; Rom. 7:14, 15; I Cor. 13:9; I John 1:8. [2] Ps. 1:1, 2; Rom. 7:22-25; Phil. 3:12-16.

115. Question: If in this life no one can keep the ten commandments perfectly, why does God have them preached so strictly?

Answer: First, that throughout our life we may more and more become aware of our sinful nature, and therefore seek more eagerly the forgiveness of sins and righteousness in Christ.[1] Second, that we may be zealous for good deeds and constantly pray to God for the grace of the Holy Spirit, that He may more and more renew us after God’s image, until after this life we reach the goal of perfection.[2]

[1] Ps. 32:5; Rom. 3:19-26; 7:7, 24, 25; I John 1:9. [2] I Cor. 9:24; Phil. 3:12-14; I John 3:1-3.

Honoring the Truth

The Heidelberg Catechism: Lord’s Day 43

112. Question: What is required in the ninth commandment?

Answer: I must not give false testimony against anyone, twist no one’s words,  not gossip or slander, nor condemn or join in condemning anyone rashly and  unheard.[1] Rather, I must avoid all lying and deceit as the devil’s own works, under penalty of God’s heavy wrath.[2] In court and everywhere else, I must love the truth,[3] speak and confess it honestly, and do what I can to defend and promote my neighbor’s honor and reputation.[4]

 [1] Ps. 15; Prov. 19:5, 9; 21:28; Matt. 7:1; Luke 6:37; Rom. 1:28-32. [2] Lev. 19:11, 12; Prov. 12:22; 13:5; John 8:44; Rev. 21:8. [3] I Cor. 13:6; Eph. 4:25. [4] I Pet. 3:8, 9; 4:8.