A Simple Way To Pray
Martin Luther

Study 11

 

The Ten Commandments


The Third Commandment:
"Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy." I learn from this, first of all, that the sabbath day has not been instituted for the sake of being idle or indulging in worldly pleasures, but in order that we may keep it holy. However, it is not sanctified by our works and actions our works are not holy-but by the word of God, which alone is wholly pure and sacred and which sanctifies everything that comes in contact with it, be it time, place, person, labor, rest, etc. According to St. Paul, who says that every creature is consecrated by word and prayer, I Timothy 4, our works are consecrated through the word. I realize therefore that on the Sabbath I must, above all, hear and contemplate God's word. Thereafter I should give thanks in my own words, praise God for all his benefits, and pray for myself and for the whole world. He who so conducts himself on the Sabbath day keeps it holy. He who fails to do so is worse than the person who works on the Sabbath.

Second, I thank God in this Commandment for his great and beautiful goodness and grace which he has given us in the preaching of his word. And he has instructed us to make use of it, especially on the sabbath day, for the meditation of the human heart can never exhaust such a treasure. His word is the only light in the darkness of this life, a word of life, consolation, and supreme blessedness. Where this precious and saving word is absent, nothing remains but a fearsome and terrifying darkness, error and faction, death and every calamity, and the tyranny of the devil himself, as we can see with our own eyes every day.

Third, I confess and acknowledge great sin and wicked ingratitude on my part because all my life I have made disgraceful use of the sabbath and have thereby despised his precious and dear word in a wretched way. I have been too lazy, listless, and uninterested to listen to it, let alone to have desired it sincerely or to have been grateful for it. I have let my dear God proclaim his word to me in vain, have dismissed the noble treasure, and have trampled it underfoot. He has tolerated this in his great and divine mercy and has not ceased in his fatherly, divine love and faithfulness to keep on preaching to me and calling me to the salvation of my soul. For this I repent and ask for grace and forgiveness.

Fourth, I pray for myself and for the whole world that the gracious Father may preserve us in his holy word and not withdraw it from us because of our sin, ingratitude, and laziness. May he preserve us from factious spirits and false teachers, and may he send faithful and honest laborers into his harvest, that is, devout pastors and preachers. May he grant us grace humbly to hear, accept, and honor their words as his own words and to offer our sincere thanks and praise.


 

(‘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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August 29, 2017

POD - Psalm 129

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Psalm 129

A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem.

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From my earliest youth my enemies have persecuted me.
Let all Israel repeat this:
From my earliest youth my enemies have persecuted me,
but they have never defeated me.
My back is covered with cuts, as if a farmer had plowed long furrows.
But the Lord is good; he has cut me free from the ropes of the ungodly.
May all who hate Jerusalem be turned back in shameful defeat.
May they be as useless as grass on a rooftop,
turning yellow when only half grown,
ignored by the harvester, despised by the binder.
And may those who pass by refuse to give them this blessing:
"The Lord bless you; we bless you in the Lord's name."

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August 28, 2017

Think Spot 281 August 2017

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Think Spot - 28th August 2017

Charlotte Bronte - “Life appears to me to be too short to be spent in nursing animosity, or registering wrong.

Many people nurse a guilty conscience owing to holding onto animosity or wrongs done to them or having done wrong things to others. As a consequence, their life is filled with turmoil and bitterness. You may well be like that – I don’t know!
What I do know is that your conscience is the faculty which is sensitive to right and wrong, and judges your actions and attitudes. Everybody has a conscience and all are sensitive to spiritual truths, whether they are immediately aware of it or not.

According to the Bible, a clear conscience is essential for inner peace and joy, confidence in prayer, good health, effective service, .right relation-ships, effective witnessing, making right decisions, and victory in spiritual battle. A clear conscience is the inner joy and peace of spirit which results from having all personal wrongs made right with those whom a person had offended - either God or someone else.

However- many Christians carry around guilty consciences due mainly to unconfessed sins, affecting relationships with God, other people and themselves. If left unchecked, a conscience which is guilty, slowly grows 'dead', cold and silent. That is until such time that the guilt has been assuaged and put right.

If at the moment you are burdened by a guilty conscience, ask the Holy Spirit to show you clearly what is affecting your conscience. Then decide, at any cost, to clear it up in the power of the same Spirit. He will help you! Pray to the Father and ask forgiveness, (1 John 1:9), and fully accept His love and forgiveness. If there is anyone else involved, then you will also need to ask for their forgiveness (Matthew 5:23-24).

Ask the Father to help you go, and the Spirit will help you, because one of the hardest things in the world to say is: “I was wrong! Please forgive me." Your conscience can be cleansed because of what Jesus did on the cross!

Hebrews 9:14 “How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

Go into this week, ready to serve the living God, being confident that the Holy Spirit living within you, empowers you, is transforming you and desires that your conscience be clear. He will help you overcome if you ask!

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