Prayer from Westminster Larger Catechism
Question 178- What is prayer?
Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God, (Ps. 62:8) in the name of Christ, (John 16:23) by the help of his Spirit; (Rom. 8:26) with confession of our sins, (Ps. 32:5–6, Dan. 9:4) and thankful acknowledgment of his mercies. (Phil. 4:6)
Question 179- Are we to pray unto God only?
God only being able to search the hearts, (1 Kings 8:39, Acts 1:24, Rom. 8:27) hear the requests, (Ps. 65:2) pardon the sins, (Micah 7:18) and fulfill the desires of all; (Ps. 145:18) and only to be believed in, (Rom. 10:14) and worshipped with religious worship; (Matt. 4:10) prayer, which is a special part thereof, (1 Cor. 1:2) is to be made by all to him alone, (Ps. 50:15) and to none other. (Rom. 10:14)
Question 180- What is it to pray in the name of Christ?
To pray in the name of Christ is, in obedience to his command, and in confidence on his promises, to ask mercy for his sake; (John 14:13–14, John 16:24, Dan. 9:17) not by bare mentioning of his name, (Matt. 7:21) but by drawing our encouragement to pray, and our boldness, strength, and hope of acceptance in prayer, from Christ and his mediation. (Heb. 4:14–16, 1 John 5:13–15)
Question 181- Why are we to pray in the name of Christ?
The sinfulness of man, and his distance from God by reason thereof, being so great, as that we can have no access into his presence without a mediator; (John 14:6, Isa. 59:2, Eph. 3:12) and there being none in heaven or earth appointed to, or fit for, that glorious work but Christ alone, (John 6;27, Heb. 7:25–27, 1 Tim. 2:5) we are to pray in no other name but his only. (Col. 3:17, Heb. 13:15)
Question 182- How doth the Spirit help us to pray?
We not knowing what to pray for as we ought, the Spirit helpeth our infirmities, by enabling us to understand both for whom, and what, and how prayer is to be made; and by working and quickening in our hearts (although not in all persons, nor at all times, in the same measure) those apprehensions, affections, and graces which are requisite for the right performance of that duty. (Rom. 8:26–27, Ps. 10:17, Zech. 12:10)
The Westminster Larger Catechism: With Scripture Proofs. (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1996).