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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

The Shorter Catechism
of the Westminster Assembly
Explained and Proved
from Scripture

by
Thomas Vincent


C. Quest. What doth the preface to the Lord's prayer teach us?
Ans.
The preface of the Lord's prayer, (which is, "Our Father which art in heaven,") teacheth us to draw near to God with all holy reverence and confidence, as children to a father, able and ready to help us; and that we should pray with and for others.

Q. 1. What is the preface of the Lord's prayer itself?
A. The preface of the Lord's prayer itself, is in these words, "Our Father which art in heaven."

Q. 2. What do the words, "Our Father," in the preface, teach us?
A. These words, "Our Father, " in the preface, teach us 1. To draw near unto God with confidence, both of his all.sufficiency and his readiness to help us; as also with a filial affection of desire, love, and delight, as children to a Father. "For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." Rom. 8:15. "Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think." Eph. 3:20. "If ye, then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him ?" Matt. 7:11. 2. To pray to God with and for others, he being a common Father unto all his people. "Praying always with all prayer and supplication for all saints." Eph. 6:18.

Q. 3. Are we to pray unto God only for the saints and such as are his children?
A. We must pray unto God, not only for the saints and his children, but also for all men: we must pray, not only for the Church in general, but also for the nation wherein we live-for magistrates, and for ministers; and not only for our friends. but also for our enemies. "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem." Ps. 122:6. "I exhort, therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings and for all that are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty." 1 Tim. 2:1. 2. "Love your enemies, and pray for them that despite fully use you and persecute you." Matt. 5:44.

Q. 4. What do these words, "Which art in heaven," teach us?
A. These words, "Which art in heaven," teach us to draw near unto God with all holy reverence, because of our great distance, God being not our earthly Father, but our Father which is in heaven. "Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter anything before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth." Eccles. 5:2.

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