Directory For The Publick Worship Of God
Of Prayer after Sermon.
Question 1.—Is the minister to pray after the sermon?
Answer.—Yes. Col. 4:2. Prayer is the means by which all things lawful are sanctified unto God’s appointed use, 1 Tim. 4:5. It is through prayer that it can be expected that the word preached is effectual to the salvation of those who hear, Phil. 1:19; 2 Cor. 1:11. Prayer is also a component of that watchfulness required by the apostle, 1 Pet. 4:7; Rom. 12:12. Wherein is a greater watchfulness needed than the preaching of the Word?
Question 2.—Ought he to give thanks to God for His many benefits bestowed?
Answer.—Yes. Ps. 136:1-3; Phil. 4:6. Thanksgiving is to be given to God for Christ, and redemption through His shed blood, 2 Cor. 9:15. There is to be a giving of thanks for the saints, Eph. 1:16. It is also wholly proper to give thanks for the spiritual victories, 2 Cor. 2:14; as well as for those temporal benefits received, Ezra 3:11.
Question 3.—Should he pray for the continuance of the Gospel, and all ordinances thereof, in purity, power and liberty?
Answer.—Yes. Rom. 15:15, 16, 30. It was of tremendous concernment to the apostles that the Gospel have free course, and they applied their prayers and sought the prayers of others to that end, 2 Thess. 3:1.
Question 4.—Is it proper for him to turn some of the heads of the sermon into petitions?
Answer.—Yes. Eph. 6:18. Turning the preached word into prayer is a proper means of building up those ministered unto, Jude 20.
Question 5.—Ought he to pray for preparation of death and judgment, and the watching for of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ?
Answer.—Yes. Heb. 9:27; 1 Cor. 1:7. Death, judgment and the coming of the Lord are things whereunto all believers ought to have an eye. Therefore, it is fitting that petitions be made against those things. Scripture is clear that God alone can deliver His saints from the temptations that lead to coming judgments and establish them in holiness, 2 Pet. 2:9; 1 Thess. 3:13. It was against this end that apostle offered up prayers for his charge, 1 Thess. 5:23.
Question 6.—Is the prayer Christ taught his disciples, commonly called the Lord’s prayer, both a pattern of prayer, and itself a most comprehensive prayer?
Answer.—Yes. Matt. 6:9-13; Luke 11:1-4. The Lord’s prayer was given as a pattern, to teach His disciples how to pray. It was not given as a liturgy of prayer. Nonetheless, it is itself a most comprehensive prayer, being a plan or model in little, by which we frame our prayers.
Question 7.—Is it recommended to be used in the prayers of the church?
Answer.—Yes. Ps. 18:30. It is of good use sometimes to lay before us, and observe the method and order of the Lord’s prayer. We can see, through the Scriptures, elements of this most perfect model incorporated into the prayers of the saints, Isa. 63:16; Lev. 22:32; Ps. 22:28; Ps. 119:89; Prov. 30:8, 9; Ps. 51:1; Jer. 6:21; 32:17.
Question 8.—Should he, if there be special occasions, to apply these things in his prayer?
Answer.—Yes. 1 Kings 8:22, 54; Acts 20:36. We are, by prayer and supplication, to make known our requests to God, Phil. 4:6. Accordingly, we have been granted a boldness, or liberty of speech, wherewith we may approach God, Heb. 10:19.
Question 9.—Is it proper, when the prayer is finished, to sing a Psalm?
Answer.—Yes. Matt. 26:30. Because by singing of psalms we glorify God, we make his praise glorious: we edify others with whom we sing as well as we edify ourselves—which is the end proposed in singing, Col. 3:16. We cheer and refresh ourselves, by making melody in our hearts to the Lord, Eph. 5:19.
Question 10.—Should the minister, unless some other ordinances of Christ are to follow, dismiss the congregation with a solemn blessing?
Answer.—Yes. Num. 6:22-27; 1 Thess. 5:28; 2 Thess. 3:18; 2 Cor. 13:14. The same that are God’s mouth to his people, to teach and command them, are his mouth likewise to bless them; and those that receive the law shall receive the blessing. A divine blessing goes along with divine institutions, and puts virtue and efficacy into them. What Christ says of the peace is true of the blessing, "Peace to this congregation,’’ if the sons of peace and heirs of blessing be there, the peace, the blessing, shall rest upon them, Luke 10:5, 6. For in every place where God records his name he will meet his people and bless them, Ex. 20:24.