Thursday, April 16, 2015

Luther's Method

In chapter six of Timothy Keller's work on prayer he discusses methods used by St. Augustine and Martin Luther.

I found the method described by Luther to be very interesting and something I'd like to put into practice. Luther breaks down his prayer into three stages.

The first is described as meditation. Luther teaches that we should meditate and consider passages of scripture that we are familiar with. We should have a good understanding of the scripture so we can properly paraphrase them and consider them. Luther teaches that we should praise God through the scripture and also confess our sin that comes to light through this contemplation.

The second step is to pray through The Lord's Prayer. Keller provides an example from Luther:
"'Give us. . . our daily bread,' I commend to thee my house and property, my wife and child. Grant that I can manage them well, supporting and educating them."
Luther encourages us to paraphrase the Prayer so that it might not turn into, "idle chatter," but instead forces us to focus on the task at hand. Keller describes this exercise as:
"...command[ing] the full mental faculty, and this helps greatly with the problem of giving God full attention."
In summary:
"Luther says we should start with meditation on a text that we have previously  studied, then after praising and confessing in accordance with out mediation, we should paraphrase the Lord's Prayer to God. Finally, we should just prayer from the heart. This full exercise, he adds, should be done twice a day."

1 comment:

  1. I liked that line about "full mental faculty." Too often I'm praying with half of my brain, not giving it the attention it requires.