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saints ; Col. ii. 18. Let no man beguile you' of your reward, in a voluntary humility, and worshipping of angels. For the merit and satisfaction of Christ alone give success and acceptance to our prayers ; Rev. viii. 3, 4. And another angel came, and stood at the altar, having a golden cenfer; and there was given unto him much incenfe, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints, upon the golden altar, which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God, out of the angel's hand. 1 Tim. ii. 5. For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jefus.
Q. 3. What is the first property, or quality of acceptable prayer?
Á. No prayer can be acceptable to God, except the matter of it be agreeable to his will ; James iv. 3. Ye atk and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your Justs; 1 John v. 14, 15. And this is the confidence that we have in him, that if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us. And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we alk, we know that we have the petitions that we desire of him.
Q. 4. Is it enough to make prayer acceptable, that the matter is agreeable to God's will ? . A. No, it is not; for the manner, as well as the matter, must be so too; Psalm lxvi. 18. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.
Q. 5. What is the first qualification of an acceptable prayer, refpe&ting the manner of it?
A. That it be sincere, and flowing from the heart of a regenerate person; Prov. XV. 29. The Lord is far from the wick. ed; but he heareth the prayer of the righteous. Jer. xxix. 13. · And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
Q. 6. What is the second qualification of prayer, respecting the manner ?
A. It must be performed in the heart of a child of God, by the Spirit of adoption; Gal. iv. 6. And because ye are fons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Rom. viii. 26. Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities : for we know not what we fhould pray for as we ou, ht, but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us, with groanings which cannot be uttered.
Q. 7. What is the third qualification of an acceptable prayer, respecting the mariner ? · A. It must be fervent and importunate, not cold and formal, yout rewal
An Exposition of the Assembly's Catechism. 129 James v. 16.The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much ; Matth. vii. 7. Ask, and it shall be given you; feek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
Q. 8. Wherein doth true importunity with God in prayer
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A. Not in the multitude of words ; Matth. vi. 7. But Lich warm when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the Heathen do : for
they think they shall be heard for their much speaking. But God or in an holy earneftness of spirit to be heard ; Pfalm cxliii. 7.
Hear me speedily, O Lord, my spirit failech; hide not thy
Q. 9. Do not prayers thus qualified sometimes miscarry ?
A. God may delay and suspend the answer of them for a time; Pfalm xxii. 2. O my God, I cry in the day-time, but thou hearest not, &c. But sooner or later God will always anfwer them, either in the very thing we ask; 1 John v. 15.--We know that we have the petitions that we defired of him :
Or in that which is equivalent, or better ; Gen. xvii. 18, 19. the most
And Abraham said unto God, Othat Ishmael might live before
Q. 10 Is there no prayer but what is stated and fixed ? ,
A. Yes, there is sudden occasional prayer, which we call
i A. No; ftated prayer ought to be in our families, with earts, those under our charge; and in our clofets, betwi. God and it also be us alone; Joh. xxiv. 15. But as for me, and my house, Id prago.we will serve the Lord. And Matth. vi. 6. But when thou
prayeft, enter into thy closet; and when thou hast shut thy
door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father epeable which feath in fecret, shall reward thee openly.
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Q. 12. What do you infer from hence ?
A. That the restraint of prayer is not only a great sin, but at ill sign of a graceless heart; Job vi. 4. Yea, thou castest off fear, and restraineft prayer before God. And that which entails a judgment and curse upon men, and their families; Jer. x. 25. Pour out thy fury'upon the Heathen that know thee not, and - upon the families that call not upon thy name. : Q. 13. What is the second inference from the ordinance of prayer}"
A. That the true reason why we enjoy not the mercies we pray for, is not because God is unwilling to grant miercies, but because we either neglect prayer, or miscarry in the manner of prayer ; James iv. 2, 3. Ye luft, and have not ; ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye afk not. Ye ask, and receive not, becaule ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lufts.
Of Direction in Prayer. Quest. 99. TIHat rule hath God given for our direction
W in the duty of prayer ? · A. The whole word of God is of use to dire&t us in prayer; but the special rule of direction, is that form of prayer which
Christ taught his difciples, commonly called, The Lord's prayer.' .. Q. 1. Do men need directions, rules, and helps in prayer?
A. They do greatly need them, for in, and of ourselves we know not what to pray for as we ought; Rom. viii. 26. Like-" wise the Spirit also helpeth qur infirmities : for we know not what we should pray for as we ought, &c. Nor how to pray in a right manner, and for right ends; and a mistake in either frustrates our prayer; James iv. 3. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lufts.
Q. 2. When do men mistake in the matter of their prayer?
A. They mistake in the matter of prayer, when they ask of God things that are not lawful, good and agreeable to his will. So the disciples were ready to do, in calling for fire from heaven on the Samaritáns ; Luke ix. 54, 55. And when his difciples, James and John, saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and confume them, even as Elias did ? But he turned and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.
Q. 3. When do men mistake in the manner of prayer?
A. They mistake in the manner, when they ask mercies of God for carnal ends, to satisfy their lufts; James iv. 3. Yealk, and receive not, because ye alkamis, that ye may consume it
upon your lusts. Or in a drowsy and careless manner; Isa. Ixiy. 7. And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee, doc.
Q. 4. What helps hath God afforded us to furnish' us to prayer, both in respect of the matter and manner?
A. The scriptures abundantly furnish us with all sorts of helps and directions for the matter of prayer. It directs us, both in confession of fins, original and actual ; Psalm li. 4, 5. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Against thee, thee only have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight, &c. Petition and thanksgiving; Phil. iv. 6. Be careful for nothing, but in every thing, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God.,
Q. 5. Doth it afford us any help, or direction, as to the manner of prayer also ?
A. Yes, it doth ;; and that both as to, (1.) Qur sincerity in prayer; Heb. x. 22. Let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith; having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. (2.) As to our humility in prayer; Psalm x, 17. Lord thou hast heard the desire of the humble ; thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear. (3.) As to our faith in prayer; James i. 6. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering, &c. (4.) As to our fervency in prayer; James v. 6,- The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. i
Q. 6. Are these external rules and directions fufficient in themselves to enable us to pray acceptably?
A. In respect of external direction they are sufficient, and we need no other outward rules than what the scriptures fura; nish ; but besides that, the internal helps and assistances of the Spirit, are necessary to the offering up acceptable prayer ; Rom. viii. 26. Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities'; for we know not what we should pray for as we ought ; but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us, doc.
Q. 7. But doth the scripture only furnish us with general rules of direction for prayer?
A. No, it furnishes us also with an excellent pattern and example of prayer, composed by Chrift for our direction; Marth.. vi. 9. After this manner therefore pray ye : Our Father, which art in heaven, &c. ....
Q. 8. Are Christians tied by a necessity to use that form of Words? Or was it only intended for a directory to them ?.. . - . . . R 2
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A. That form of words may be lawfully used, but it is plain its intention was to regulate our petitions by it; and therefore they that use it in spells and charms, as the Papists ; or those that think nothing is prayer, but that form of words ; abuse Christ's intention in it.
& 9. How doth it appear, it was not Christ's intention strictly to bind us to that very form of words in our prayers ?
A. Divines give us these reasons against it, (1.) Because this prayer is fet down diverfly by the evangelists; Matth. vi. 10, 12. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And Luke xi. 3, 4. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. (2.) Christ and his apostles did not always use this form of words afterwards, as appears by his! prayer at Lazarus's grave, John xi. and that for his apostles, John xvii. (3.) Becaufe these words, Matth. vi. 9. After this manner, &c. plainly shew, its use was intended for a directory to us.
Q. 10. What is the first inference from hence ?
A. Hence we learn the fulness and completeness of the Scriptures, not only for the guiding and settling of our faith in things that are to be believed, but also of our whole practice, in every duty we are to perform.
Q. 11. What is the second inference hence ? - .
A. Hence we are informed, how necessary it is to acquaint ourselves with the mind of God, revealed in his word, that wa may guide ourselves in prayer, both for matter and manner thereby; and not utter to God words without knowledge,
Q. 12. What is the last inference from hence ?
A. That those who neglect all prayer, and those that fatisfy themselves with a form of prayer, which they utter without knowledge or affection, do greatly fin against God. And that it is the duty of all Christians, from a sense of their own fins, wants, and mercies, to be often with God in prayer, guiding themselves in that spiritual duty, by such inward and outward helps, as his word and Spirit are able to furnish them with.
Of the Preface to tbe Lord's Prayer. Quest. 100. WITHat doth the preface of the Lord's prayer
V teach us ? A. The preface of the Lord's prayer, which is, [Our Father which art in heaven,] teacheth was to draw near to God with all