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In this section of the Baptist Larger Catechism, we continue our discussion on prayer. In particular, these questions address how we should pray and what we should pray for. These questions are a substantial extension and expansion of question 110 in the Keach Catechism. The extended responses are based on Questions 182 – 185 in the Westminster Larger Catechism.

As before, feel free to comment on the questions below.

Q. 177: How does the Spirit help us to pray?

A: Since we do not know what we ought to pray for, the Spirit helps our weakness by enabling us to understand for whom, for what, and how to pray. He works in and makes our hearts alive (although not in everyone, nor all the time, nor to the same degree) to grasp, feel, and experience the gifts that are needed to pray properly.1

1. Romans 8:26-27; Psalm 10:17; Psalm 80:18; Zechariah 12:10

Q. 178: For whom should we pray?

A: We should pray for the entire church of Christ on earth,1 for civil authorities2 and ministers,3 for ourselves4 and fellow believers,5 and for our enemies.6 We should pray for all people who are alive,7 and those who are going to live in the future.8 But we should not pray for the dead9 or for those who are known to have sinned the sin that leads to death.10

1. Ephesians 6:18; Psalm 28:9

2. 1 Timothy 2:1-2

3. Colossians 4:3; 2 Thessalonians 3:1

4. Genesis 32:11

5. James 5:16

6. Matthew 5:44

7. 1 Timothy 2:1-2

8. John 17:20; 2 Samuel 7:29

9. 2 Samuel 12:21-23

10. 1 John 5:16

Q. 179: For what should we pray?

A: We should pray for things that promote the glory of God,1 the welfare of the church,2 and our own3 or others’ good,4 but not for anything that is unlawful.5

1. Matthew 6:9

2. Psalm 51:18; Psalm 122:6

3. Matthew 7:11

4. Psalm 125:4, 1 Thessalonians 5:23; 2 Thessalonians 3:16

5. 1 John 5:14; James 4:3

Q. 180: How should we pray?

A: In prayer, we should approach God with a reverent awareness of His majesty1 and a deep sense of our unworthiness,2 inadequacies,3 and sins.4 Our hearts should be filled with repentance,5 thanks,6 and confidence,7 and our prayers should be marked by understanding,8 faith,9 sincerity,10 fervor,11 love,12 and perseverance,13 while we wait on Him14 and humbly submit to His will.15

1. Ecclesiastes 5:1; Psalm 33:8; Psalm 95:6

2. Genesis 18:27; Genesis 32:10; Psalm 144:3

3. Luke 15:17-19; Psalm 86:1

4. Luke 18:13-14; Psalm 130:3

5. Psalm 51:17; Zechariah 12:10-14

6. Philippians 4:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:18

7. 1 Samuel 1:15; 1 Samuel 2:1; Psalm 81:10; Ephesians 3:20-21

8. 1 Corinthians 14:15

9. Mark 11:24; James 1:6; Hebrews 10:22

10. Psalm 145:18; Psalm 17:1; Hebrews 10:22; John 4:24

11. James 5:16

12. 1 Timothy 2:8; Matthew 5:23-24

13. Ephesians 6:18

14. Micah 7:7

15. Matthew 26:39

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