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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

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

by
Thomas Vincent


CIII. Ques. What do we pray for in the third petition?
Ans.
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.

Q. 1. What is meant by the will of God, which we are to pray that it might be done?
A. By the will of God, which we are to pray that it might be done, is meant— 1. The will of God's precept, or that which he is pleased to require of us. "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."— Matt. 7:21. 2. The will of God's providence, or that which he is pleased to do with us, and unto us. "If I might have a prosperous journey, by the will of God, to come unto you."— Rom 1:10. "It is better if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well-doing, than for evil-doing."— 1 Pet. 3:17.

Q. 2. What do we request, when we pray that the will of God's precept be done?
A. When we pray that the will of God's precept be done, we request— 1. That ourselves and others, who naturally are dark and ignorant of his will, may, by his Word and Spirit, be enabled to know and understand it. "Ye were sometimes darkness, but now ye are light in the Lord. Be not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is."— Eph. 5:8, 17. We cease not to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding."— Col. 1:9. 2. That ourselves and others, who naturally have in our hearts an enmity against God's law, might be inclined and enabled to obey and do whatever it is the will of God to command. "The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be."— Rom. 8:7. "Incline my heart unto thy testimonies."— Ps. 119:26. "Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy Spirit is good."— Ps. 143:10. "I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments and do them."— Ezek. 36:27.

Q. 3. What do we request, when we pray that the will of God's providence may be done?
A. When we pray that the will of God's providence may be done, we request that ourselves and others might have compliance of will with the will of God, so as thankfully to accept merciful providences, and patiently submit unto afflictive providences. "And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word." — Luke 1:38. "And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done."— Acts 21:14.

Q. 4. How are we to pray that God's will may be done by ourselves and others?
A. We are to pray that God's will may be done by ourselves and others on earth, universally, readily, unweariedly, constantly, even as it is done in heaven. "Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word, Bless the Lord, all his works, in all places of his donninions: bless the Lord, O my soul."— Ps. 103:20, 22.

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