Tuesday, March 15, 2016

"A Simple Way to Pray": Blogging Through Luther - The Ten Commandments

"A Simple Way to Pray": Blogging Through Luther - Introduction
"A Simple Way to Pray": Blogging Through Luther - To Master Peter
"A Simple Way to Pray": Blogging Through Luther - The Lord's Prayer
"A Simple Way to Pray": Blogging Through Luther - Pray Like a Barber
"A Simple Way to Pray": Blogging Through Luther - The Ten Commandments


After exploring the Lord's Prayer, Martin Luther considers praying through the Ten Commandments in his book A Simple Way to Pray. He explains at the very beginning that his approach follows the same patter:
First, instruction: I read each commandment and consider what it is teaching me, as intended by the commandment, and think about what god is so earnestly demanding of me.

Second, thanksgiving: I use the commandment to thank God for something.

Third, confession of sin.

Fourth, I use the commandment to say a prayer using these or similar words. (16)

Before exploring the commandments more explicitly, I few thoughts in general about his treatment on prayer and the Decalogue. First, I find this approach insightful and one I would never have considered. The Lord's Prayer is established by Jesus as a model prayer intended to be used in a way that Luther suggests. Yet few would consider praying through the Ten Commandments.

Secondly, this section provides helpful insight into Luther's understanding and theology of the Ten Commandments. However, the reader should note just how brief this section is. Luther does not teach the Ten Commandments here. I would recommend the reader explore and study them before praying through them.

Thirdly, there is a glaring weakness that we cannot ignore. Luther commonly utilizes the Law/gospel distinction in his writings. Here, one can barely find the gospel in his survey of the Ten Commandments. I applaud Luther's exhortation to use the Ten Commandments as a means to confess one's sins, but confession should never be isolated from the gospel. Luther fails to make that important point.

With that said, Luther establishes a helpful practice that could greatly benefit our prayer life. If we would be disciplined to put it into practice.


For more:
How to Pray in a World of Terrorism
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