Well, we're here. We finally made it. After more than 1 1/2 years of weekly posts we come to a close of our study of the Westminster Shorter Catechism. The weekly reminders gave us time to pause and think about what God has for us and what the Assembly wanted to pass on. Let's take a few moments and consider the last question of the WSC....
Q. 107. What doth the conclusion of the Lord’s prayer teach us? A. The conclusion of the Lord’s prayer, which is, [For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever; Amen.] teacheth us, to take our encouragement in prayer from God only; and in our prayers to praise him; ascribing kingdom, power, and glory to him; and in testimony of our desire, and assurance, to be heard, we say, Amen.
Q. 1. Why is the conclusion joined to the particle For? A. To teach us, that therein are included arguments, or reasons to press God withal, and to prevail with him for audience.
Q. 2. But is it lawful to argue with God, and to urge him with reasons in prayer? A. It is not only lawful, but expedient, yea, highly commendable; as is seen in the saints prayer. In Moses’, Numbers 14:13. And Moses said unto the Lord, Then the Egyptians shall hear it, (for thou broughtest up this people in thy might from among them.) Ver. 19. Pardon. I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people, according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people from Egypt, even until now. In Joshua’s, Joshua 7:7. And Joshua said, Alas! O Lord God; wherefore hast thou at all brought this people over Jordan to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? Would to God we had been content, and dwelt on the other side Jordan. Ver. 9. For the Canaanites, and all the inhabitants of the land shall hear of it, and shall environ us round, and cut off our name from the earth: And what wilt thou do unto thy great name? In Asa’s, 2 Chronicles 14:11. And Asa cried unto the Lord his God, and said, Lord, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power. Help us, O Lord our God, for we rest on thee; and in thy name we go against this great multitude. O Lord, thou art our God; let no man prevail against thee. In Jehoshaphat’s, 2 Chronicles 20:6. And said, O Lord God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? And rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? And in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee? And Hezekiah’s, 2 Kings 19:15. And Hezekiah prayed before the Lord, and said, O Lord God of Israel, which dwellest between the cherubims; thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth:
Thou hast made heaven and earth. Ver. 19. Now therefore, O Lord our God, &c.
Q. 3. But to what purpose, can we think to prevail with God, by our arguments and importunities? A. They are not used, as though we would put God in remembrance of any thing, or would prevail with God to do that for us, which he is unwilling to give.
Q. 4. Why then? A. For our own profit, for the enlarging of our own hearts, for the exciting of our fervency, for the exerting of faith, hope, zeal, charity, &c. in prayer; and so to prepare ourselves for the mercy, that we may the more gratefully receive it, and the more fruitfully employ it.
Q. 5. How many arguments are in this conclusion? A. Three.
Q. 6. From whence are they taken? A. From God’s kingdom, from his power, and from his glory.
Q. 7. What kingdom is here meant? A. God’s universal, essential, and absolute kingdom; wherein may be, and is involved, his special kingdom over the church.
Q. 8. What are the arguments from hence? A. Because all that we can pray for in this prayer, is for the advancement and perfecting of this his kingdom, by the destruction of all persons and things that oppose it, and the completion of his dominion over all his subjects; therefore he would grant all these requests.
Q. 9. What is another? A. Because he being such an absolute Lord and Sovereign has an undeniable right, and unquestionable authority, to give and grant all we ask, and to effect and bring to pass all we beg: For all persons and things are his own, and at his disposal. Matthew 20:15. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own?
Q. 10. What is meant by power? A. God’s essential, infinite, irresistible power, whereby he can do what he pleases; Psalm 135:6. Whatsoever the Lord pleased, &c.
Q. 11. What is the argument from hence? A. That we ask nothing from God, but what we can do with infinite ease, in despite of all the opposition that hell, earth and heart can make to the contrary; Philippians 3:21 According to the working, &c. Ephesians 3:20. Now unto him that is able, &c.
Q. 12. What is meant by glory? A. Not his essential glory, which no man, or angel, can ever apprehend.
Q. 13. What glory then? A. His declared and acknowledged glory, even the accomplishment of all his decrees by his providence; and then the love, the adoration, and the praises, the self-dedications of angels and saints, returned to him for the same.
Q. 14. What is the argument or motive from hence? A. That seeing the substance of every request does directly tend to, and will perfectly end in, this glory of God, when they are fully answered; therefore he would gradually answer them while we are here, and perfectly at last, to the advancement of his glory now, and the completion of it then. 1 Chronicles 29:11. Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, &c. Joshua 7:9. And what wilt thou do unto thy great name? Isaiah 42:8. I am the Lord, that is my name, &c. Isaiah 48:11. For my own sake, even for my own sake, will I do it, &c.
Q. 15. Why is Amen added? A. Because it is the usual conclusion of prayers and praises; Psalm 41:13. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, &c. Psalm 72:19. And blessed be his glorious name for ever, &c. 2 Corinthians 13:14 .The grace of the Lord Jesus, and the love of God, &c. Romans 16:20. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
Q. 16. But what does this word here signify? A. It signifies, (1.) The reality and ardency of our desires to be granted in what we pray for: Revelation 22:20. He which testifieth these things, saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so come Lord Jesus.
Q. 17. And what besides? A. Our trust and firm confidence that we shall be heard and answered in all these our requests; Revelation 1:7. Even so, Amen. Revelation 7:12. Saying, Amen. Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, &c.
Q. 18. What are the inferences from hence? A. That we ought to use in prayer all such arguments, as may most and best affect our hearts towards God, excite our graces, and succeed with God.
Q. 19. What is another? A. That all we pray for must be in a subserviency to God’s kingdom, and with a desire of his glory.
Q. 20. What is the next? A. That we must act according to our prayers; do all we can for the advancement of God’s kingdom, and the exaltation of his glory, as subjects and votaries thereto; Psalm 116:16; 1 Corinthians 10:31.
Q. 21. What may more be gathered hence? A. That as we ought to begin, so to continue, and conclude our prayers, in lowest adorations of God, and acknowledgments of his glory and attributes.
Q. 22. What more doth this conclusion teach? A. That in prayer we must be fervent in our desires, and longing for what we pray, James 5:16.
Q. 23. Is there any thing besides? A. That praying for things agreeable to God’s will, we ought to be confident that we shall succeed in our requests praying for the matter, and after the manner of this prayer; James 1:6, 8; Matthew 21:22. - John Flavel