Giving God Arguments

J.I. Packer says, “Hallowed be your name…is the basic petition of the Lord’s Prayer, the global ideal and desire that all the other petitions are actually spelling out and specifying in one way or another” (Praying: Finding Our Way Through Duty to Delight). Thus, all prayer is really a matter of reasoning with God as to how we would like to see his name honored and exalted (“hallowed”). Stephen Charnock (1628-1680) called this giving God arguments:

Our praying…should consist of arguments for God’s glory and our happiness: not that arguments move God to do that which he is not willing of himself to do for us…as though the infinitely wise God needed information, or the infinitely loving God needed persuasion, but it is for strengthening our faith in him. All the prayers of Scripture you will find to be reasoning with God, not a multitude of words heaped together; and the design of the promises is to furnish us with a strength of reason in this case: Dan 9:16, “Now according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thy anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem.” He [Daniel] pleads God’s righteousness in his promise of the set time of deliverance; after he had settled his heart in a full belief of the promise of deliverance, he shows God’s own words to him. The arguments [in this and all biblical prayers] you will find drawn from the covenant in general, or some promise in particular, or some attribute of God, or the glory of God.”

(Charnock, Works, 4.8)

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