God Commands that we Pray

Pentecost 14 Thursday

Psalm 50:15

“Call upon me in trouble, and I will answer you, and you shall glorify me.”

It is highly necessary to exhort and encourage the people to prayer, as Christ did in Luke 18:1; Matthew 7:7, and as the apostles did in 1 Thessalonians 5:17; 1 Peter 4:8 and James 1:6. And the first thing you should know is that it is our duty to pray for the sake of God’s commandment. For we have heard about the Second Commandment, “You shall not misuse God’s name,” that it demands that we praise the holy  name and call upon it in all trouble or to pray. For to call upon is nothing other than to pray. Thus, prayer is commanded as strictly and earnestly as having no other gods, not
murdering, not stealing, etc. Let no one think that prayer is a matter of indifference…You are to conclude from this that, since praying is earnestly commanded, no one should despise his own prayer, but should regard it as great
and significant…You should think: “My prayer would be nothing on my account, but it means much because God has commanded me to pray.” Thus, whatever your request may be, always come before God in obedience to this commandment…For God does not look at a prayer because of the worthiness of the person saying it, but because of his Word and man’s obedience to that Word. For I base my prayer on the same commandment all the saints base their prayer on; additionally, I pray for the very thing they have prayed or are praying for…Second, it should urge and encourage us to prayer all the more that God added a promise to the command, promising that what we ask should be “Yes” and certain, as he says in Psalm 50:15 and Matthew 7:7-8. Such promises should awaken our heart and
kindle in it a desire and love for prayer because he testifies by his Word that our prayer is truly pleasing to him, and that it is certain to be heard and granted, lest we despise it and pray on an uncertain basis…Moreover, this too should encourage and draw us to pray: God, along with the command and the promise, beats us to the punch by putting the very words into our mouths by telling us in the Lord’s Prayer how and for what we are to pray, so that we may see that he wholeheartedly takes care of our troubles. We should not doubt that such prayer is pleasing to him and is certainly heard by him, which is the great advantage the Lord’s Prayer has over all the prayers we might conceive on our own…The Lord’s Prayer is also prescribed in this way that we should see and consider the troubles that are to force and urge us to pray without ceasing. For if you want to ask, you must bring, present, and name something specific you desire; otherwise, it cannot be called a prayer.

St. Louis ed., 10:102-105.

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