Archive for the 'Ancient Book' Category

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A Simple Way To Pray
Martin Luther

Study 5

 

The fifth petition. "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."

Say: "O dear Lord, God and Father, enter not into judgment against us because no man living is justified before You. Do not count it against us as a sin that we are so unthankful for thine ineffable goodness, spiritual and physical, or that we stray into sin many times every day, more often than we can know or recognize. Do not look upon how good or how wicked we have been but only upon the infinite compassion which You have bestowed upon us in Christ, Your dear Son.

Grant forgiveness also to those who have harmed or wronged us, as we forgive them from our hearts. They inflict the greatest injury upon themselves by arousing Your anger in their actions toward us. We are not helped by their ruin; we would much rather that they be saved with us. Amen."
(Anyone who feels unable to forgive, let him ask for grace so that he can forgive; but that belongs in a sermon.)

 

(‘A Simple Way To Pray by Martin Luther’: Prayer, the Lord's Prayer, the 10 Commandments, and the Creed - A Letter to His Barber, Master Peter Beskendorf, Spring 1535. The ebook or PDF is widely available to download for free online.)


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A Simple Way To Pray
Martin Luther

Study 4

 

The Fourth petition. "Give us this day our daily bread."

Say: "Dear Lord, God and Father, grant us Your blessing also in this temporal and physical life. Graciously grant us blessed peace. Protect us against war and disorder. Grant to our dear emperor fortune and success against his enemies. Grant him wisdom and understanding to rule over his earthly kingdom in peace and prosperity. Grant to all kings, princes, and rulers good counsel and the will to preserve their domains and their subjects in tranquility and justice.

Especially aid and guide our dear prince N., under whose protection and shelter You dost maintain us, so that he may be protected against all harm and reign blessedly, secure from evil tongues and disloyal people. Grant to all his subjects grace to serve him loyally and obediently. Grant to every estate-townsman or farmer-to be diligent and to display charity and loyalty toward each other. Give us favorable weather and good harvest. I commend to thee my house and property, wife and child. Grant that I may manage them well, supporting and educating them as a Christian should. Defend us against the Destroyer and all his wicked angels who would do us harm and mischief in this life.
Amen."

 

(‘A Simple Way To Pray by Martin Luther’: Prayer, the Lord's Prayer, the 10 Commandments, and the Creed - A Letter to His Barber, Master Peter Beskendorf, Spring 1535. The ebook or PDF is widely available to download for free online.)

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A Simple Way To Pray
Martin Luther

Study 3

 

The Third petition. "Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven."

Say: "O dear Lord, God and Father, You know that the world, if it cannot destroy Your name or root out Your kingdom, is busy day and night with wicked tricks and schemes, strange conspiracies and intrigue, huddling together in secret counsel, giving mutual encouragement and support, raging and threatening and going about with every evil intention to destroy Your name, word, kingdom, and children.

Therefore, dear Lord, God and Father, convert them and defend us. Convert those who have yet to acknowledge Your good will that they with us and we with them may obey Your will and for Your sake gladly, patiently, and joyously bear every evil, cross, and adversity, and thereby acknowledge, test, and experience Your benign, gracious, and perfect will. But defend us against those who in their rage, fury, hate, threats, and evil desires do not cease to do us harm. Make their wicked schemes, tricks, and devices to come to nothing so that these may be turned against them, as we sing in Psalm 7."

 

(‘A Simple Way To Pray by Martin Luther’: Prayer, the Lord's Prayer, the 10 Commandments, and the Creed - A Letter to His Barber, Master Peter Beskendorf, Spring 1535. The ebook or PDF is widely available to download for free online.)

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A Simple Way To Pray
Martin Luther

Part 1 - Introduction

G’day! Welcome to Partakers. Today we start a new series, recording a small book by one of the greats of Church History. It is ‘A Simple Way To Pray by Martin Luther’: Prayer, the Lord's Prayer, the 10 Commandments, and the Creed - A Letter to His Barber, Master Peter Beskendorf, Spring 1535. The ebook or PDF is widely available to download for free online.

Study 1

 

I will tell you as best I can what I do personally when I pray. May our dear Lord grant to you and to everybody to do it better than I! Amen.

 

 

First, when I feel that I have become cool and joyless in prayer because of other tasks or thoughts (for the flesh and the devil always impede and obstruct prayer), I take my little psalter, hurry to my room, or, if it be the day and hour for it, to the church where a congregation is assembled and, as time permits, I say quietly to myself and word-for-word the Ten Commandments, the Creed, and, if I have time, some words of Christ or of Paul, or some psalms, just as a child might do. It is a good thing to let prayer be the first business of the morning and the last at night. Guard yourself carefully against those false, deluding ideas which tell you, "Wait a little while. I will pray in an hour; first I must attend to this or that." Such thoughts get you away from prayer into other affairs which so hold your attention and involve you that nothing comes of prayer for that day.

 

It may well be that you may have some tasks which are as good or better than prayer, especially in an emergency. There is a saying ascribed to St. Jerome that everything a believer does is prayer and a proverb, "He who works faithfully prays twice." This can be said because a believer fears and honors God in his work and remembers the Commandment not to wrong anyone, or to try to steal, defraud, or cheat. Such thoughts and such faith undoubtedly transform his work into prayer and a sacrifice of praise.

 

On the other hand it is also true that the work of an unbeliever is outright cursing and so he who works faithlessly curses twice. While he does his work his thoughts are occupied with a neglect of God and violation of his law, how to take advantage of his neighbor, how to steal from him and defraud him.

 

What else can such thoughts be but out and out curses against God and man, which makes one's work and effort a double curse by which a man curses himself. In the end they are beggars and bunglers. It is of such continual prayer that Christ says in Luke 11, "Pray without ceasing," because one must unceasingly guard against sin and wrong-doing, something one cannot do unless one fears God and keeps his Commandment in mind, as Psalm 1 says, "Blessed is he who meditates upon his law day and night."

 

Yet we must be careful not to break the habit of true prayer and imagine other works to be necessary which, after all, are nothing of the kind. Thus at the end we become lax and lazy, cool and listless toward prayer. The devil who besets us is not lazy or careless, and our flesh is too ready and eager to sin and is disinclined to the spirit of prayer. When your heart has been warmed by such recitation to yourself and is intent upon the matter, kneel or stand with your hands folded and your eyes toward heaven and speak or think as briefly as you can:

 

O Heavenly Father, dear God, I am a poor unworthy sinner. I do not deserve to raise my eyes or hands toward thee or to pray. But because thou hast commanded us all to pray and hast promised to hear us and through thy dear Son Jesus Christ hast taught us both how and what to pray, I come to thee in obedience to thy word, trusting in thy gracious promise. I pray in the name of my Lord Jesus Christ together with all thy saints and Christians on earth as he has taught us: Our Father who art, etc., through the whole prayer, word for word.

Then repeat one part or as much as you wish, perhaps the first petition: "Hallowed be thy name," and say: "Yes, Lord God, dear Father, hallowed be thy name, both in us and throughout the whole world. Destroy and root out the abominations, idolatry, and heresy of the Turk, the pope, and all false teachers and fanatics who wrongly use thy name and in scandalous ways take it in vain and horribly blaspheme it. They insistently boast that they teach thy word and the laws of the church, though they really use the devil's deceit and trickery in thy name to wretchedly seduce many poor souls throughout the world, even killing and shedding much innocent blood, and in such persecution they believe that they render thee a divine service.

 

Dear Lord God, convert and restrain. Convert those who are still to be converted that they with us and we with them may hallow and praise thy name, both with true and pure doctrine and with a good and holy life. Restrain those who are unwilling to be converted so that they be forced to cease from misusing, defiling, and dishonouring thy holy name and from misleading the poor people. Amen.

 

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The Practice Of The Presence Of God:

The Best Rule Of A Holy Life

(being Conversations and Letters of Brother Lawrence)



Letters - Letter 15


From his death-bed. Repeats the same exhortation to knowledge that we may love.

GOD knows best what is needful for us, and all that He does is for our good. If we knew how much He loves us, we should be always ready to receive equally and with indifference from His hand the sweet and the bitter; all would please that came from Him. The sorest afflictions never appear intolerable, but when we see them in the wrong light. When we see them in the hand of GOD, who dispenses them: when we know that it is our loving FATHER, who abases and distresses us: our sufferings will lose their bitterness, and become even matter of consolation.

Let all our employment be to know GOD: the more one knows Him, the more one desires to know Him. And as knowledge is commonly the measure of love, the deeper and more extensive our knowledge shall be, the greater will be our love: and if our love of GOD were great we should love Him equally in pains and pleasures. Let us not amuse ourselves to seek or to love GOD for any sensible favors (however elevated) which He has or may do us. Such favors, though never so great, cannot bring us so near to GOD as faith does in one simple act. Let us seek Him often by faith: He is within us; seek Him not elsewhere. Are we not rude and deserve blame, if we leave Him alone, to busy ourselves about trifles, which do not please Him and perhaps offend Him? 'Tis to be feared these trifles will one day cost us dearly.

Let us begin to be devoted to Him in good earnest. Let us cast everything besides out of our hearts; He would possess them alone. Beg this favor of Him. If we do what we can on our parts, we shall soon see that change wrought in us which we aspire after. I cannot thank Him sufficiently for the relaxation He has vouchsafed you. I hope from His mercy the favor to see Him within a few days. Let us pray for one another.

[He took to his bed two days after and died within the week.]




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The Practice Of The Presence Of God:

The Best Rule Of A Holy Life

(being Conversations and Letters of Brother Lawrence)



Letters - Letter 14


Gratitude, for mercies to his correspondent, and measure of relief while he has himself been near death, but with consolation in his suffering.

I render thanks to our LORD, for having relieved you a little, according to your desire. I have been often near expiring, though I was never so much satisfied as then. Accordingly I did not pray for any relief, but I prayed for strength to suffer with courage, humility, and love. Ah, how sweet is it to suffer with GOD! However great the sufferings may be, receive them with love. 'Tis paradise to suffer and be with Him; so that if in this life we would enjoy the peace of paradise, we must accustom ourselves to a familiar, humble, affectionate conversation with Him: we must hinder our spirits wandering from Him upon any occasion: we must make our heart a spiritual temple, wherein to adore Him incessantly: we must watch continually over ourselves, that we may not do, nor say, nor think anything that may displease Him. When our minds are thus employed about GOD, suffering will become full of unction and consolation.

I know that to arrive at this state, the beginning is very difficult; for we must act purely in faith. But though it is difficult, we know also that we can do all things with the grace of GOD, which He never refuses to them who ask it earnestly. Knock, persevere in knocking, and I answer for it that He will open to you in His due time, and grant you all at once what He has deferred during many years. Adieu. Pray to Him for me, as I pray to Him for you. I hope to see Him quickly.




(Caveat: Partakers would say that if you are ill, go seek medical advice. Remember Brother Lawrence was writing at a period of history when medical help was not particularly good or widely available to the general populace.)




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