The Shorter Catechism, 30
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Q101: What do we pray for in the first petition?
A: In the first petition, [which is, "Hallowed be thy name",] we pray, That God would enable us and others to glorify him in all that whereby he maketh himself known; and that he would dispose all things to his own glory.
The first petition is: "Hallowed be Thy Name." We pray that Godís Name may be hallowed. Since we are not able to hallow Godís Name of ourselves, we pray that God may enable us and others to glorify Him. We pray, "O God; let all the people praise thee." Ps. 67:3. God makes Himself known to us in many things, and we pray that we may glorify Him in all these things: hallowed be Godís Name. Let us, being enabled by God, say of Him: "For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen." Rom. 11:36.
Q102: What do we pray for in the second petition?
A: In the second petition, [which is, "Thy kingdom come",] we pray, That Satanís kingdom may be destroyed; and that the kingdom of grace may be advanced, ourselves and others brought into it, kept in it; and that the kingdom of glory may be hastened.
In the second petition, we pray, "Thy kingdom come". That is, let Thy kingdom come. Godís kingdom conflicts with Satanís kingdom. So, if Godís kingdom comes, that means that Satanís one will be destroyed. "Lord", we pray, "let Thine kingdom come, and let Satanís kingdom be destroyed". In the Psalms we read, "Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him." Ps. 68:1. It is therefore allowed to pray for the destruction of Satanís kingdom, for the scattering of Godís enemies, and for the flight of Godís haters.
"Lord", we pray, "may the kingdom of grace be advanced". Let the church be expanded with many new born people. Let the knowledge be increased, and let Zion be build and defended. "Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem." Ps. 51:18. Let also many outsiders be regenerated, converted, and brought in the holy city, into Zion. Defend the church, that their inhabitants may live and glorify God in peace, and may be kept within Godís protection.
Thy kingdom come. That is, let Thine final kingdom come speedily. Jesus, come back speedily. "He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus." Rev. 22:20.
Q103: What do we pray for in the third petition?
A: In the third petition, [which is, "Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven",] we pray, That God, by his grace, would make us able and willing to know, obey, and submit to his will in all things, as the angels do in heaven.
"Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." We know that Godís will is done in heaven. The angels serve Him with all their power, might, and strength. "Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word." Ps 103:20. The angels do Godís commandments, and they hearken unto the voice of His word. "Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." The angels in heaven perfectly obey God, and do all His commandments. Let on earth the same be done. We pray that we may perfectly obey Godís commandments, while we are on the earth, imitating the angels in heaven. But since we are unable to serve God duly, we pray for strength, and for the Spirit of God. Lord, by Thine grace, make us able, and make us willing, to know, obey, and submit to Thine will in all things. We read of such a prayer in the Psalms: "Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart. Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight. Incline my heart unto thy testimonies." Ps. 119:34-36.
Q104: What do we pray for in the fourth petition?
A: In the fourth petition, [which is, "Give us this day our daily bread",] we pray, That of Godís free gift we may receive a competent portion of the good things of this life, and enjoy his blessing with them.
"Give us this day our daily bread". Our daily bread is not something we earn, but it is a free gift of God. We pray Him for the free gift of our daily bread. And besides this, we pray also for a competent portion of the other good things of this life. "Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me." Prov. 30:8. We not only pray for our daily bread, but also that we may enjoy Godís blessing in them. If God were to give us our daily bread, but without His favour and blessing, that would be a harmful portion. Therefore, we also pray for His blessing. May our daily bread, and the other good gifts, be accompanied by His blessing. "Let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it." Ps. 90:17.
Q105: What do we pray for in the fifth petition?
A: In the fifth petition, [which is, "And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors",] we pray that God, for Christís sake, would freely pardon all our sins; which we are the rather encouraged to ask, because by his grace we are enabled from the heart to forgive others.
"And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors". We ask that God would pardon all the sins we have committed. God, forgive us our sins, for Christís sake. We say with David, "Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions." Ps. 51:1.
The second part of this petition is: "...as we forgive our debtors". God, forgive us our sins, as we forgive others. God has enabled us, by His grace, to forgive from the heart the sins others have committed against us. We perceive this grace, that He has given us. Perceiving that we are ready to forgive others, we are encouraged to ask that God will do the same to us. "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you." Matt. 6:14.
Q106: What do we pray for in the sixth petition?
A: In the sixth petition, [which is, "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil",] we pray, That God would either keep us from being tempted to sin, or support and deliver us when we are tempted.
"And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil". We see that this petition consists of two parts:
We pray with this that God would keep us from being tempted to sin. This is the first part. In the second part, "deliver us from evil", we pray that, in the case we are yet tempted, God would support us therein, or deliver us from it. Lord, lead us not into temptation, but in the case we are tempted, then deliver us from that evil. Both parts of this petition can be found in many places of the Scriptures. "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation." Matt. 26:41. And elsewhere David prays: "Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me." Ps. 19:13. Once fallen in sin, we find the prayer "deliver us from evil", in these words: "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit." Ps. 51:10,12.
Q107: What doth the conclusion of the Lordís prayer teach us?
A: The conclusion of the Lordís prayer, [which is, "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever, Amen."] teacheth us, to take our encouragement in prayer from God only, and in our prayers to praise him, ascribing kingdom, power, and glory to him. And, in testimony of our desire, and assurance to be heard, we say, Amen.
We ask all these things in our prayer. Why? "For Thine is the kingdom, and...". Because all these, the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, are of God, we are encouraged to pray for the things we need. Only in God lies our encouragement to prayer. "We do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God." Dan. 9:18,19. There is nothing in us why our prayers should be heard. When they are heard, it is Godís work of grace, for His Own sake. We have but sins, but God is full of mercy.
Further, when we close our prayer with these words, we praise God. "For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever". We ascribe the kingdom to Him. We ascribe all power to Him. He has all the glory, from now on until eternity. "Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine. Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name." 1 Chron. 29:11,13.
We close our prayer with the word "Amen", meaning: It is true and sure. "Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus." Rev. 22:20. All what we have prayed is true in God, and also sure in Him. And we expect with great longings the future of our Lord Jesus Christ, when He comes back to judge the quick and the dead, and when God will be glorified in His saints for ever.