Friday, November 7, 2014

A Simple Way To Pray / Ligonier

My last blog post spoke regarding thoughts and tools as applied to scripture memory.  As I stated in that post the other discipline that many struggle with, myself included, is a disciplined prayer life. We wrestle with what to pray, how to pray, when to pray, in what posture to pray, etc.

As with scripture reading and memory, I am also involuntarily bombarded in everything that I read and listen to with the fact that a strong Christian walk is tied directly to a healthy prayer life.  There are many people in our day whom have strong Christian walks and/or strong ministries because of their strong prayer habits.

Many throughout church history have been known to have strong prayer lives from Augustine and Calvin to Edwards and Spurgeon, with many other well known names in between, prayer has been the anchor that has carried them through every success and storm.  Here is a link to twenty quotes regarding prayer from Charles Spurgeon.

A Simple Way To Pray

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Among these men was Martin Luther, the great Father of the Protestant Reformation.  He was well known for his strong, lengthy, devoted prayer life.  In the spring of 1535, at the request of his barber, a letter was written by Luther explaining his advice on how to have a most effective prayer life.  He entitled it "A Simple Way To Pray".

In this letter Luther explains that the way he prays in earnest, at length, and with great effectiveness is to use three sources as the basis for his prayers:  The Lord's Prayer,  The Ten Commandments, and The Apostles Creed.

He fleshes out that if you utilize the different points of these sources to formulate your pattern of prayer, you can have endless prayers without one sounding the same.  He says this because from these you will go on a different journey of reflection with each.

My general understanding of this so far is that, through the Lord's Prayer, you will reflect on the majesty of God and His purposes on a grand scale and an individual scale.  Through the Ten Commandments, you will easily remember your own sinful ways as your realize your failure to keep these Commandments, and have no trouble finding reflection for confession.  The Lord's prayer will lead you to the needed request for forgiveness for these failures as well.  This should also lead to requests for the grace to pursue repentance effectively. Through the Apostle's Creed you will reflect on the nature of God, as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as well as reflecting on your relationship with the church.

With this little fleshing out of my meager understanding of this letter, I could not begin to do justice to Luther.  So I would suggest that you hear from Luther himself by reading the letter here as if it were written to you.  This is a PDF of the letter.  It has been put in to book form and is sold on Amazon by a few different publishers.  You can find it as a kindle e-book for $1.99.

Another Resource
I only recently gained knowledge of this letter and learned of it's value to so many, even today.  I learned of it via a ministry known as Ligonier.

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Ligonier is the teaching ministry of Dr. R.C. Sproul by which he and a number of other accomplished pastors, teachers, and theologians have been providing sound theological teaching for the ordinary (i.e. non-vocational ministry oriented) Christian for the last 40 years.  R.C. is an expert on Luther among others which is, I am sure, why this resource was introduced to me via his ministry.

Through their radio ministry known as Renewing Your Mind, you can gain great insight into church history, biblical doctrine, systematic theology, and more; all taught in a way that anyone can understand.  R.C. has several children's books that are available for purchase as hardcover books as well as in an audio format being narrated by R.C. himself.  I heard him do it for free on Renewing Your Mind.  These children's story's are well written, always with the intent of teaching a biblical truth or Christian practice through the story.  Such as exposing us to Luther's letter to his barber via The Barber Who Wanted To Pray.

They also have an app for Android and Apple iphone or ipod touch.  On it you can listen to Renewing Your Mind as well as hear teaching and panel discussions from numerous conferences that they put on every year.  You will also find sermon series from the pulpit ministry of R.C. Sproul as well as devotionals, many of which have come from their monthly magazine Tabletalk.

This ministry has fed me and helped me grow in ways that I could never have imagined.  My understanding of scripture, theology, and church history has expanded exponentially because of this ministry.  Thousands across the world are blessed by this ministry each and every day.

I pray by exposing you to it here, perhaps for the first time today, you will be blessed by it as well.

One More Resource

One last brief resource that I have not read, but have heard great things about is a new book by a well known pastor named Tim Keller.  It is called "Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy With God". Here is a link to an article from The Gospel Coalition listing 20 favorite quotes from the book as well as providing a link to it on Amazon.

May your prayer life and your knowledge and understanding of all things Christian grow because of the resources provided here.

In Jesus name,


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