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New City Catechism - Question 40
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Posted by Taryl Jasper, Cornerstone elder


New City Catechism - Question 40


Q40: What should we pray?


A: The whole Word of God directs and inspires us in what we should pray, including the prayer Jesus himself taught us.

KIDS’ ANSWER: The whole Word of God directs us in what we should pray.



Matthew 6:9–13

Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your 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 evil.



Luke 11:1-2; Matthew 6:5-8; Ephesians 3:14-21; Isaiah 55:6; Romans 15:4; 1 Corinthians 10:11



Many of us desire to earnestly live a Spirit-filled life. Yet we find our struggle in the simple act of speaking to God in prayer. We do not know how to pray. We grapple with putting together thoughts and words that seem right. We fear that our words will be unworthy of bringing before the holy Creator of the universe. Sometimes our mind and our mouth cannot express in words what our heart feels.


Perhaps that is what Jesus' disciples also struggled with when they asked: "Lord, teach us to pray" (Luke 11:1). We will look at the example that Jesus patiently gave them in the application associated with next week's question. But for this week consider simply that Jesus' model prayer was recorded for us as Scripture for us to pray. It is Scripture that the early church prayed (Acts 4:24-26). Furthermore, many of the Scriptures are themselves prayers so to read them directed to God is to pray.


Praying the Scriptures to the Lord is of great value in the life of the believer. In praying this way, we focus our minds and hearts on the things that God himself revealed about himself and our condition before Him. This is what Paul was telling us when he wrote: "For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope" (Romans 15:4).


We should come to the Lord in prayer with our personal thanks and needs. But developing a habit of praying the Scriptures, including Jesus' model prayer, keeps us from the one problem of struggling of what to pray and from the second problem of degenerating into vain repetitions that revolve entirely around our own self-centered and immediate individual concerns.




We believe that Jesus Christ is true God and true Man, having been conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.  He who knew no sin died on the cross a sacrifice for our sins according to the Scriptures.  Further, He arose bodily from the dead, ascended into Heaven, where at the right hand of the Majesty on High, He now is our High Priest and Advocate.  (Is. 7:14Mt. 1:18-25;  Lk. 1:26-36;  Col. 2:9;  1 Jn. 5:20;  Mk. 10:45;  Heb. 2:9;  Lk. 24:23-40;  1 Cor. 15;  Acts 1:1-111 Pet. 3:221 Jn. 2:2Heb. 4:167:25)


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