Martin Luther: A man of prayer and reformation -Part 2
Prayer is the wheel upon, which the purpose of God runs. No purpose of God succeeds without it. This statement is true to Martin Luther’s life. It was said that, “In the 16th century, the Church of Rome buried biblical prayer beneath layers of institutional, mystical theology.”
Rome taught that God could not be approached directly by sinners, but through priests. In contrast, Luther and other reformers after him emphasised on the priesthood of all believers. They taught believers to return to the biblical model of prayer.
One way to measure the heartbeat of a man is through his writings or statements. Luther’s Letter titled: “A Simply Way to Pray,” which he addressed to his Berber, Master Peter Beskendorf in 1535 says a lot about himself, and his passion for prayer.
In the opening paragraph of his letter, he wrote this about himself how he deals with lukewarmness: “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 home, 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.”
In April 1521, during the trial at Worms, Germany, Luther, perhaps, faced the most crucial threat to his life. As he prayed, God led him to read Psalm 46. Out of that meditation came the writing of the classic hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is our God.” One thing is certain, while the Reformation focused more on the rediscovery of Scriptural truth and purifying the practices of the Church, prayer drove the entire movement.
In his “Larger Catechism,” Luther prefaced this statement, “we know that our defense lies in prayer alone. We are too weak to resist the devil and his vassals. Let us hold fast to the weapons of the Christian; they enable us to combat the devil…Our enemies may mock us. But we shall oppose both men and devil if we maintain ourselves in prayer and if we persist in it.”
Luther and the other Reformers are a great challenge to this generation whose time has been overtaken by social media and have little or no time for prayer and the study of the word of God. They would weep when they see the level of prayerlessness in the Church today and how this generation of ministers has abused and merchandised prayer to their selfish ends. May the Lord grant us another Reformation of prayer that would usher in genuine revival to the Church.
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