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A Simple Way To Pray: Instruction, Thanksgiving, Confession, Prayer

I just discovered that in 1535 Martin Luther penned "A Simple Way To Pray" after his barber and friend, Peter Beskendorf, asked for some practical guidance on how to pray.

Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, President of The Lutheran Church -- Missouri Synod (LCMS), identifies Martin Luther' "ITCP" method of prayer, which features 4 basic steps to prayer...

I - Instruction ("What Does This Text Instruct?")

T - Thanksgiving ("What Do I Have To Give Thanks For?")

C - Confession ("What Do I Have To Confess?")

P - Prayer (A General Prayer That Ties Them All Together)


Rev. Harrison explains Martin Luther's ITCP method of prayer in this brief video below and also recommends Luther's book on the subject stating that "Luther's little book on prayer will revolutionize your prayer life."



What a beautiful prayer he read aloud that Martin Luther himself wrote!

If you're anything like me, then perhaps you're starting to find yourself thinking about your prayer life more and more than you ever have in the past. Maybe there's a true God-given desire to want to learn how to pray "the right way" or Biblically too.

Whether that desire is there or not is immaterial. What's important is for us to recognize that we have been given a means of expressing ourselves to the Creator of the Universe by way of prayer. What an awesome privilege, isn't it?

I think it's important for us to note that for Martin Luther, prayer was not something merely informed by Scripture, but rather, Scripture is often informed by prayer as well! What a stark contrast to so many within American Evangelicalism today who want to "experience God" through "feelings-based" prayer.

It's evident that prayer is so central to Luther's conception of the Christian life and ministry and so I will pray myself that the Lord would impress the importance of prayer upon our own hearts and minds.

It's essential to note, however, that Luther is not setting prayer over against study of Scripture either, but that he's arguing on the assumption that prayer will already be based on Scripture, and that this is what allows the Holy Spirit to give insight into His Word.

So, Luther's Biblically-informed doctrine of prayer allowed him to have great faith in praying. He could pray with great confidence knowing that God is called one who listens to prayers (Psalm 62). Since the sovereign Lord of the universe -- he is 100% confident -- hears him when he prays, he can pray with great faith.

This Scriptural understanding that God hears prayer also contributes to the great importance of prayer in Luther's life and thought. It's a subject I hope to address again here in the near future, God willing.

In a Lutheran Layman's terms, Martin Luther's theology of prayer is one that is "Bibliocentric" (or one that has God's Word at the center of it all), and is one which also views prayer as being of great importance in the life of every believer.

[NOTE: As you know, I am a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is not consistent with Lutheran doctrine -- in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word -- so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray. Thank you in advance for your time and help. Grace and peace to you and yours!]

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About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

1 comment

  1. What Have You Found That Is Different From Evangelical Lutherans And Missouri Synod Lutherans I Am A Young Evangelical Lutheran That Wishes To Learn More About Faith And God
    Have A Blessed Day
    Hannah Beasman

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums and social media is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all arrive at the truth of God's Word (myself included), then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!

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