Praying with Luther and His Barber

Praying with Luther and His Barber

Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”  Luke 11:1

One of Dr. Luther’s most practical writings was a response to a request from his barber, Master Peter, to provide help in his prayer life.  Peter the Barber, like so many of us, struggled in his prayer life.  Luther’s A Simple Way to Pray is a practical tool to assist every Christian in the habit of daily prayer.  The tool that Luther commends to his friend is the Small Catechism.  It is more than just a collection of religious content.  Like the hymnal it is a tool to shape the faith and piety of individual Christians and their families.  Luther’s booklet for his friend is a great resource to help every Christian to see how to use the catechism as part of their daily devotional life.

Luther writes to Master Peter, “You should also know that I do not want you to recite all these words in your prayer. That would make it nothing but idle chatter and prattle…rather do I want your heart to be stirred and guided concerning the thoughts which ought to be comprehended in the Lord's Prayer.”  The Lord’s Prayer and its petitions, the Ten Commandments with their meanings and the Creed and its articles provide the guide in praying for our neighbors, our communities, the church, and the world.

Luther’s teaching on prayer calls the Christians to examine themselves and confess their sins to God, but also to give thanks to Him for all the blessings of body and soul.  In the first three parts of the catechism, the life of prayer is laid out for Christians for a lifetime.  Dr. Luther’s theology is not intended for an ivory tower, but for ordinary, everyday lives of barbers, bankers, and people like us.  May Luther’s Small Catechism or his brief booklet A Simple Way to Pray assist you in your daily prayers to God for your family, friends, church, and community!

Prayer – Good and gracious God, You give us all that we need to support this body and life.  Help us to turn to You in every need and trust in Your gracious provision and to receive Your gifts with thanksgiving and praise; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen. 

Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan

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