Q: What does the preface of the Lord's prayer teach us?
A: The preface of the Lord's prayer, which is, Our Father which art in heaven, teaches 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: What do we pray for in the first petition?
A: In the first petition, which is, Hallowed be thy name, we pray that God would enable us and others to glorify him in all that whereby he makes himself known; and that he would dispose all things to his own glory.
"Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created."
It's hard to believe, but we are coming now to the closing sections of the Westminster Shorter Catechism! I'm already thinking about what to blog through in 2017, but we'll get to that later. For now, we're moving into the sections of the catechism which break down and investigate the sections of the Lord's prayer. These blog posts won't be long, as I think the catechism here is pretty self-explanatory.
Question 100 shows us a wonderful comfort. It echoes the words of Hebrews 4:16, "Let us with confidence draw near to the throne of grace". Why? Because this is, indeed, our heavenly Father that we are praying to. This is, for us his children, not a throne of judgment, but rather, a throne of grace upon which sits our Father. Our loving, caring, all powerful, all sovereign, all wise, all compassionate Father will withhold no good thing from his children! Our Father is the Father who created all things, who governs all things, and who will work all things for the good of those who love him. So we can, with confidence, draw near to his throne.
On one final note, notice too, question 100 makes a point in emphasizing the corporate nature of this prayer. God is not "my Father" singular, he is "our Father", which reemphasizes the liturgical structure, by the way, that we talked about in the previous blog post. The implication of this plural language is exactly what the catechism says. We should pray both with and for others. Prayer is not only a means of grace for individuals, but one by which the people of God can and should participate in corporately.
Question 101 looks at the first petition of the prayer, "Hallowed be thy name". What are we asking, or saying, to God when we pray this petition? We are asking him to glorify himself! We are asking God to receive all glory in all things. We are asking him to conform our wills to his-for his glory. We are asking him to make his glory known to us and to all of creation so that everyone and everything will bring him glory. We are asking God to bring about in our lives what the very first question in this catechism says is the goal of our entire existence-that we would glorify God and enjoy him forever.