The Heidelberg Catechism

Lord's Day 45

Q&A 116

Q: Why do Christians need to pray?

A: Because prayer is the most important part
of the thankfulness God requires of us.1
And also because God gives his grace and Holy Spirit
only to those who pray continually and groan inwardly,
asking God for these gifts
and thanking him for them.2

1 Ps. 50:14-15; 116:12-19; 1 Thess. 5:16-18
2 Matt. 7:7-8; Luke 11:9-13

Q&A 117

Q: How does God want us to pray so that he will listen to us?

A: First, we must pray from the heart
to no other than the one true God,
who has revealed himself in his Word,
asking for everything he has commanded us to ask for.1
Second, we must acknowledge our need and misery,
hiding nothing,
and humble ourselves in his majestic presence.2
Third, we must rest on this unshakable foundation:
even though we do not deserve it,
God will surely listen to our prayer
because of Christ our Lord.
That is what he promised us in his Word.3

1 Ps. 145:18-20; John 4:22-24; Rom. 8:26-27; James 1:5;
1 John 5:14-15
2 2 Chron. 7:14; Ps. 2:11; 34:18; 62:8; Isa. 66:2; Rev. 4
3 Dan. 9:17-19; Matt. 7:8; John 14:13-14; 16:23; Rom. 10:13;
James 1:6

Q&A 118

Q: What did God command us to pray for?

A: Everything we need, spiritually and physically,1
as embraced in the prayer
Christ our Lord himself taught us.

1 James 1:17; Matt. 6:33