William Boekestein – I Don’t Love to Pray, But I Want To

In 1845 preacher William Walford introduced to the world a new hymn. In the second stanza, he wrote,

“Sweet hour of prayer! Sweet hour of prayer! The joys I feel, the bliss I share, of those whose anxious spirits burn with strong desires for thy return! With such I hasten to the place where God my Savior shows his face and gladly take my station there and wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!”

After reading those words some of us might wonder if we’ve ever actually prayed! Let’s be honest: Prayer is not always bliss. We don’t hasten to it gladly. We don’t pray for an hour. We don’t even know what to pray for (Rom. 8:26–27).

We’re not the first people to make these confessions. In the mid-seventeenth century, a group of British church leaders met to develop instructional materials for the Christians under their care. One of the products of that meeting was the Westminster Shorter Catechism (1647). This document offers 107 simple and timeless questions and answers (Q/A) about the Christian life. The catechism’s two questions introducing the Lord’s Prayer can help breathe life into our sometimes-arid prayer habits.

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