Wrong dir in settings
Luther's Prayer Pattern
Martin Luther is one of the most well-known figures from the Reformation period. His controversial sermons and writings are widely read. What is not so widely understood is his prayer life.
In a letter he wrote to his barber, Luther reveals this private side of his faith. He answered his barber’s question, "Doctor Luther, how do you pray?" in A Simple Way to Pray, for a Good Friend. It was published in 1535. Luther offers his barber some first hand advice, because he understood from his own life what struggles must be faced in establishing a life of prayer and devotional contact with the Lord.
Luther recommended a routine of daily prayer. "It is a good thing to let prayer be the first business of the morning and the last of the evening. Guard yourself against such false and deceitful thoughts that keep whispering: ‘Wait awhile. In an hour or so I will pray. I must first finish this or that.’ Thinking such thoughts we get away from prayer into other things that will hold us and involve us until the prayer of the day comes to naught."
Luther’s method is to focus on a small portion of scripture. He wrote about the need for concentration and avoiding fatigue from reading too much at once. "Don’t take too much upon yourself lest the spirit should get tired. It is sufficient to grasp one part of a Bible verse, or even half, a part from which can strike a spark in your heart. For the soul can think more in one moment than the tongue can speak in ten hours and the pen can write in ten days."
Luther meditated on scripture or the catechism by asking questions of the passage that reflected a pattern of thanks, confession and prayer. For example, examine his reflection on the Third Commandment ("Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy"). He included this in his counsel to help his barber pray. Luther first writes a prayer of Thanks: "Dear Lord God, I thank you for your great and precious grace and for the blessing you have given us in your word and in the preaching of it. It is a treasure no human heart can fully appreciate. You have especially commanded us to use these blessings on the Sabbath..."; then one of Confession: "I know and confess my great sin and my terrible ingratitude, and I have spent the Sabbaths wickedly throughout my life. I have horribly neglected your precious word and have been lazy, unwilling to hear it. I have not desired nor ever given proper thanks for it..."; and finally one of Prayer: "Dear Father, I pray for myself and all the world. Keep us steadfast in your holy word, and do not take it from us, because of our sin, laziness, and ungratefulness..."