What Is Prayer?
WHAT IS PRAYER?
Question 98. What is prayer?
Answer: Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God, for things agreeable to his will, in the name of Christ, with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgment of his mercies.
— The Westminster Shorter Catechism, 1647
[This next one is VERY similar. You can tell where these early Baptists got the template for the question and answer. Do you see the additional phrases?]
Question: What is prayer?
Answer: Prayer is an offering up our desires to God (Psalm 62:8), by the assistance of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:26), for things agreeable to his will (1 John 5:14; Romans 8:27), in the name of Christ (John 16:23), believing (Matthew 21:22; James 1:6), with confession of our sins (Psalm 32:5- 6; Daniel 9:4), and thankful acknowledgments of his mercies (Philippians 4:6).
— The Baptist Catechism, Charleston Association of 1813
1 THESSALONIANS 5:14-24: PRAY WITHOUT CEASING (NIV)
And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
Do not put out the Spirit's fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.
May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.
[Let's not just talk about prayer or memorize Scripture passages or catechism questions about prayer. Let's pray! Paul says to pray continually. Work that one out. What did Jesus say when his disciples asked him, "Lord, teach us to pray"? (Luke 11:1-4).]
Have a great week,
School of Church Music and Worship
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
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