Directory For The Publick Worship Of God
Of Publick Prayer before the Sermon.
Question 1.—After the reading of the word, (and singing of the psalm), ought the minister who is to preach, to endeavor to get his own and his hearers hearts rightly affected with their sins, that they may be prepared to seek after the grace of God?
Answer.—Yes. Neh. 8:2, 3, 6, 8. It is a great part of our adoration of God to have a proper estimation of our own meanness and unworthiness to draw near to God and speak to him, 2 Sam. 7:18-22.
Question 2.—Ought there to be a confession of sinfulness by reason of Original sin?
Answer.—Yes. Ps. 51:5. So far from being an extenuation, we must confess and bewail our original corruption whereby the nature of man is depraved and degenerated from its primitive purity and rectitude, Eccl. 7:29; Ps. 49:12; Isa. 1:4.
Question 3.—Ought there to be a bewailing of blindness of mind, hardness of heart and other impediments to mortification?
Answer.—Yes. Eph. 4:18; Rom. 8:7. We ought to lament our present corrupt dispositions to that which is evil, and our indisposedness to, and impotency in, that which is good. Because: 1.) Our minds are blind as to understanding and there is an unaptness to admit the rays of divine light, 1 Cor. 2:14; Jer. 4:22; Ps. 82:5; Job 33:14; Matt. 13:14; Mark 8:24. 2.) Our hearts are hard and carnal, rather than set upon Christ and the things of God, Zech. 7:12; Mark 3:5; Col. 3:1, 2; Matt. 6:21. 3.) There is a stubbornness in our wills, and an unaptness to submit to the divine rule, by reason of sin, Job 21:15; Prov. 5:12, 13.
Question 4.—Should there be a self judging of ourselves unworthy of the least of God’s benefits?
Answer.—Yes. Dan. 9:8; Isa. 6:5; Ezra 9:6. We ought to take shame to ourselves, which is our due, and humble ourselves before him in the sense of our own sinfulness and vileness. Because: 1.) There is nothing clean in God’s sight, least of all sinful men, Job 15:15, 16. 2.) If we seek to justify ourselves in the sight of God, we stand condemned, Job 9:20. 3.) Such self judging is the proper attitude of a prodigal returning, Luke 15:21. 4.) It is the proper heart attitude of a soul that has been humbled before the Lord, Job 40:4.
Question 5.—Should there be an encouraging of all who draw nigh the throne of grace with a hope of a gracious answer of our prayers?
Answer.—Yes. Ps. 103:10; Isa. 30:18. There should be an encouraging of our faith from the following considerations: 1.) God is infinitely good in his nature and ready to forgive sin, Ps. 86:5, 15. 2.) Christ our Mediator has merited forgiveness of sin and answer to prayer by his righteousness, 1 John 2:1, 2; 2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 8:33, 34. 3.) The promises God has made in his word to pardon and absolve those that believe the gospel, Isa. 55:7; Dan. 9:9.
Question 6.—Should prayer be made for full assurance of pardon and remission of sins as well as for those that mourn that they may be comforted?
Answer.—Yes. Luke 18:13. We must earnestly pray for the pardon and forgiveness of sins and full assurance thereof, Ps. 51:2, 3, 7; Heb. 8:12; Isa. 1:18. Likewise, we must remember those that do mourn and pray that they might be comforted according to the promise of God, Isa. 61:2; Matt. 5:4.
Question 7.—Should prayer be made for sanctification, mortification and perseverance?
Answer.—Yes. 1 Thess. 5:23, 24. We have need to sanctify our nature, to plant in us all holy principles and dispositions, and to increase every grace, Rom. 6:17; 12:2; 1 Pet. 1:14. So too, ought we to advance in mortification that we might persevere, Col. 3:5; 1 Tim. 4:16.
Question 8.—Shall prayer be made for the universal propagation of the Gospel, the conversion of the Jews, the fullness of the Gentiles and the overthrow of Antichrist as well as for the triumph of covenanted uniformity?
Answer.—Yes. Ps. 2:8; Isa. 49:6. We ought to make supplication for the universal propagation of the gospel and the increase of the church, Isa. 54:2; 11:9; Rev. 11:15. This includes: 1.) The conversion of the Jews and fulness of the Gentiles, 2 Cor. 3:16; Rom. 11:23-26. 2.) The overthrow of Antichrist, Ps. 2:1-5; 2 Thess. 2:2, 3, 8, 10, 11; Rev. 18:2, 21. 3.) The triumph of covenanted uniformity, Num. 10:33, 35; Isa. 19:18-25; 1 Cor. 1:10.
Question 9.—Should prayer be made for those in authority and for national blessings and the averting of national judgments?
Answer.—Yes. 1 Tim. 2:2. Prayers ought to be for those that are in authority that we might lead quiet and peaceable lives. Also, prayer should be made for national blessings: 1.) For God’s favor and tokens of his blessings, Jer. 14:7-9; Zech. 2:5. 2.) For the continuance of the gospel among us, Ps. 45:6. So too, should God’s people cry out for the national sins, Ezek. 9:4.
Question 10.—Should prayer be made for the conscionable use of ordinances and the proper sanctification of the Lord’s day?
Answer.—Yes. Ps. 147:19, 20. It is a great blessing to have the gospel ordinances and the Sabbath day, and we ought to make conscionable use of them, Neh. 9:14; Heb. 4:9; Eph. 4:8, 11-13.
Question 11.—Should prayer be made that the hearers might receive and profit in the deep things of God, and the mysteries of Jesus Christ by the Spirit of grace?
Answer.—Yes. John 14:26; Col. 3:16. Because: 1.) We must have knowledge and understanding in the things of God, Eph. 1:17-19. 2.) We have great need to be kept from the way of error and corrected, John 16:13; Job 6:24. 3.) We need to direct our consciences in the way of duty, Col. 1:9, 10.
Question 12.—Should prayer be made that the preacher might be granted the wisdom and utterance that he may rightly divide the word of God?
Answer.—Yes. Eph. 6:18, 19. Preaching is a gift of grace which is made effectual by the power of God, Eph. 3:7, 8.
Question 13.—Should prayer be made that the Lord would open the ears of the hearers and grant them the grace to receive the engrafted word to the saving of their souls?
Answer.—Yes. Eph. 1:18. Apart from the Lord working efficaciously, none have ears to hear, Luke 8:8, 10; James 1:21.