Amazing Thoughts on Prayer

Witsius knocks this one out of the park. He is commenting on the first petition of the Lord’s Prayer (“Hallowed be thy name”).

It is a very extraordinary and almost incredible familiarity of intercourse which a man is permitted to maintain with God in holy prayer. That a base wretch,—a sinner under sentence of condemnation, a worm that deserves to be trampled under foot,—should be admitted to intercourse with the Divine Being, whose majesty the brightest inhabitants of heaven approach with lively praise, and yet with the lowliest adoration, is certainly a high privilege. To be conducted to the throne of grace by the only begotten Son of God,—to have the words and the very groans supplied by the influence of the Spirit of prayer,—to be permitted to express, with the utmost boldness and freedom, every desire and wish which is not inconsistent with the honour of God, or the true interests of the worshipper,—is a privilege higher still. But the most wonderful of all, and one which almost exceeds belief, is that a man should be allowed to plead, not only for himself and for his neighbour, but for God,—that the kingdom of God and the glory of God should be the subject of his prayer,—as if God were unwilling to be glorious, or to exercise dominion except in answer to the prayers of believers…The honour of praying for God, which is thus granted to a human being, ought to be so highly prized by a believing soul that, loving God above all things, even above itself, it should overlook for a time its own concerns, until the matters which relate to the glory and kingdom of God have been carefully settled (from The Lord’s Prayer (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, facsimile of 1839 edition), 185-6).

Witsius goes on to note that we do not pray for God as if He needed anything. We pray in order that God’s glory may be declared.


  1. November 6, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    Witsius emphasizes God’s transcendence along with human falleness. He is certainly correct in what he says. God is certainly transcendent as well as immanent. During this time of the New Covenant where all Christians will be taught by God (Jn. 6.45) there seems to be an emphasis on personal “knowing.” A new relational component is reflected also in this prayer.

    Not all Christians take this “Lord’s Prayer” (the prayer that Jesus taught the disciples) as only petition . It seems to start out as praise and affirmation: “Hallowed be your name.” It is the confident expectation of the time when God will rule on earth as in heaven with His name praised by the redeemed.

    This disciples prayer also teaches 3 things in the asking part (petition): “daily” as a qualification of sustenance. This encourages a constant dependence, a personal continual learning of how God is able to meet needs. This shows His capacity and greatness in the most minute matters. “Forgiveness” qualified by the disciple forgiving others as themselves were freely forgiven. We are able to love because He first loved us. “Leading” during the evil days of this temporal journey. This seems to teach watchfulness and close fellowship with the Lord. It is a very personal dependence and deliverance.

  2. Reed Here said,

    November 7, 2017 at 7:27 am

    Good Lane. Book?

  3. greenbaggins said,

    November 7, 2017 at 9:28 am

    Reed, I have not the pleasure of understanding you. What precisely do you mean by “book”?

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