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Shorter Catechism

𝒬 98. What is prayer?

𝒜. Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God,1 for things agreeable to his will,2 in the name of Christ,3 with confession of our sins,4 and thankful acknowledgment of his mercies.5

  1. Psalm 10:17

    O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted;
    you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear

    Psalm 62:8

    Trust in him at all times, O people;
    pour out your heart before him;
    God is a refuge for us. Selah

    Matthew 7:7-8

    “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. (ESV)

  2. 1 John 5:14

    And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. (ESV)

  3. John 16:23-24

    In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. (ESV)

  4. Psalm 32:5-6

    I acknowledged my sin to you,
    and I did not cover my iniquity;
    I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
    and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah

    Therefore let everyone who is godly
    offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found;
    surely in the rush of great waters,
    they shall not reach him.

    Daniel 9:4-19

    I prayed to the Lord my God and made confession, saying, “O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and rules. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. To you, O Lord, belongs righteousness, but to us open shame, as at this day, to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to all Israel, those who are near and those who are far away, in all the lands to which you have driven them, because of the treachery that they have committed against you. To us, O Lord, belongs open shame, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against you. To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against him and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God by walking in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets. All Israel has transgressed your law and turned aside, refusing to obey your voice. And the curse and oath that are written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out upon us, because we have sinned against him. He has confirmed his words, which he spoke against us and against our rulers who ruled us, by bringing upon us a great calamity. For under the whole heaven there has not been done anything like what has been done against Jerusalem. As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this calamity has come upon us; yet we have not entreated the favor of the Lord our God, turning from our iniquities and gaining insight by your truth. Therefore the Lord has kept ready the calamity and has brought it upon us, for the Lord our God is righteous in all the works that he has done, and we have not obeyed his voice. And now, O Lord our God, who brought your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and have made a name for yourself, as at this day, we have sinned, we have done wickedly.

    “O Lord, according to all your righteous acts, let your anger and your wrath turn away from your city Jerusalem, your holy hill, because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and your people have become a byword among all who are around us. Now therefore, O our God, listen to the prayer of your servant and to his pleas for mercy, and for your own sake, O Lord, make your face to shine upon your sanctuary, which is desolate. O my God, incline your ear and hear. Open your eyes and see our desolations, and the city that is called by your name. For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name.”

    1 John 1:9

    If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (ESV)

  5. Psalm 103:1-5

    103:1 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and all that is within me,
    bless his holy name!
    Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits,
    who forgives all your iniquity,
    who heals all your diseases,
    who redeems your life from the pit,
    who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
    who satisfies you with good
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.

    Psalm 136

    136:1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.
    Give thanks to the God of gods,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.
    Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;

    to him who alone does great wonders,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
    to him who by understanding made the heavens,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
    to him who spread out the earth above the waters,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
    to him who made the great lights,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
    the sun to rule over the day,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
    the moon and stars to rule over the night,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;

    to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
    and brought Israel out from among them,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
    with a strong hand and an outstretched arm,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
    to him who divided the Red Sea in two,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
    and made Israel pass through the midst of it,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
    but overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
    to him who led his people through the wilderness,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;

    to him who struck down great kings,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
    and killed mighty kings,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
    Sihon, king of the Amorites,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
    and Og, king of Bashan,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
    and gave their land as a heritage,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
    a heritage to Israel his servant,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.

    It is he who remembered us in our low estate,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
    and rescued us from our foes,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
    he who gives food to all flesh,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.

    Give thanks to the God of heaven,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.

    Philippians 4:6

    do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (ESV)

Larger Catechism

𝒬 178. What is prayer?

𝒜. Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God,1 in the name of Christ,2 by the help of his Spirit;3 with confession of our sins,4 and thankful acknowledgment of his mercies.5

  1. Psalm 10:17

    O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted;
    you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear

    Psalm 62:8

    Trust in him at all times, O people;
    pour out your heart before him;
    God is a refuge for us. Selah

    Matthew 7:7-8

    “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. (ESV)

  2. John 16:23

    In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. (ESV)

  3. Romans 8:26

    Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. (ESV)

  4. Psalm 32:5-6

    I acknowledged my sin to you,
    and I did not cover my iniquity;
    I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
    and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah

    Therefore let everyone who is godly
    offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found;
    surely in the rush of great waters,
    they shall not reach him.

    1 John 1:9

    If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

    Daniel 9:4-19

    I prayed to the Lord my God and made confession, saying, “O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and rules. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. To you, O Lord, belongs righteousness, but to us open shame, as at this day, to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to all Israel, those who are near and those who are far away, in all the lands to which you have driven them, because of the treachery that they have committed against you. To us, O Lord, belongs open shame, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against you. To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against him and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God by walking in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets. All Israel has transgressed your law and turned aside, refusing to obey your voice. And the curse and oath that are written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out upon us, because we have sinned against him. He has confirmed his words, which he spoke against us and against our rulers who ruled us, by bringing upon us a great calamity. For under the whole heaven there has not been done anything like what has been done against Jerusalem. As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this calamity has come upon us; yet we have not entreated the favor of the Lord our God, turning from our iniquities and gaining insight by your truth. Therefore the Lord has kept ready the calamity and has brought it upon us, for the Lord our God is righteous in all the works that he has done, and we have not obeyed his voice. And now, O Lord our God, who brought your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and have made a name for yourself, as at this day, we have sinned, we have done wickedly.

    “O Lord, according to all your righteous acts, let your anger and your wrath turn away from your city Jerusalem, your holy hill, because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and your people have become a byword among all who are around us. Now therefore, O our God, listen to the prayer of your servant and to his pleas for mercy, and for your own sake, O Lord, make your face to shine upon your sanctuary, which is desolate. O my God, incline your ear and hear. Open your eyes and see our desolations, and the city that is called by your name. For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name.” (ESV)

  5. Philippians 4:6

    do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

    Psalm 103:1-5

    103:1 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and all that is within me,
    bless his holy name!
    Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits,
    who forgives all your iniquity,
    who heals all your diseases,
    who redeems your life from the pit,
    who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
    who satisfies you with good
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.

    Psalm 136

    136:1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.
    Give thanks to the God of gods,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.
    Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;

    to him who alone does great wonders,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
    to him who by understanding made the heavens,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
    to him who spread out the earth above the waters,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
    to him who made the great lights,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
    the sun to rule over the day,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
    the moon and stars to rule over the night,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;

    to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
    and brought Israel out from among them,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
    with a strong hand and an outstretched arm,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
    to him who divided the Red Sea in two,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
    and made Israel pass through the midst of it,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
    but overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
    to him who led his people through the wilderness,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;

    to him who struck down great kings,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
    and killed mighty kings,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
    Sihon, king of the Amorites,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
    and Og, king of Bashan,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
    and gave their land as a heritage,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
    a heritage to Israel his servant,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.

    It is he who remembered us in our low estate,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
    and rescued us from our foes,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
    he who gives food to all flesh,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.

    Give thanks to the God of heaven,
    for his steadfast love endures forever. (ESV)


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Based on Calendar of Readings in the Westminster Standards by Dr. Joey Pipa. Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.