Scripture Reading: Psalm 55
Prayer and God’s Will—if Westminster Confession is right, prayer doesn’t matter. Well, God ordains the means and the ends, which still makes prayer worthless.
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.11 Give us this day our daily bread.12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Psalm 115:3—God is in heaven and has done what pleased Him. Asking God’s will—in life, ultimate longing for kingdom, not a stoic submission to the inevitable, but a longing for righteousness, sanctification, salvation, and all that God desires. Lead us not into temptation—request to not be drawn after our own will into temptation.
None of these requests makes sense with Westminster Confession.
But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few;38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest.
Could be about Christ’s ministry given to apostles to establish Church, could be a general request for all time to send out people to save others. Is what God does dependent on us asking? Do we have more power than God then?
And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.
Hebrews 5:8—He learned obedience by the things He suffered. If Christ’s will came into conflict with God’s, we can be ours does quite frequently!
Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.15 For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.
Boastful people speak as if life and actions were entirely up to them, whereas believers know they are humble, tiny, and need help. All you have and are is a vapor. A humble acknowledgment of need and dependence.
Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.] [The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.17 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.
Sickness above seems to be tied with a specific sin, removal of the sin brings removal of sickness. Elijah asked for weather and got it! Prayers change things.
Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Infirmity—weakness, dimness of knowledge and spiritual insight. Praying with Spirit goes hand in hand in praying for God’s will
Next week into all things work together for good.