Luther: On Prayer

luther_glass“When we pray we have the advantage [of the promise] that what we ask will be granted, although not according to our wish. If it weren’t for the promise I wouldn’t pray. God does well, moreover, that he doesn’t give us everything as we wish, for otherwise we’d want to have everything on our own terms.

That our Lord God is the same in life and death I have often experienced. If our prayer is earnest it will be heard, even if not as and when we wish. This must be so or our faith is vain. Consequently it’s difficult to pray. I know well what a prayer requires of me. I haven’t committed adultery, but I’ve broken the first table against God’s Word and honor. On account of my great sins [against the first table] I can’t get to the others in the second table.” — Martin Luther

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5 thoughts on “Luther: On Prayer

  1. Rik Rasmussen 7 Mar 2013 at 8:57 am

    What do you think he meant by “This must be so or our faith is vain.”?

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  2. Jim 7 Mar 2013 at 9:01 am

    that God’s answer must suffice

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  3. Pam 7 Mar 2013 at 8:41 pm

    If our prayer is not heard, then our faith IS in vain. Our faith is based on knowing that our prayer is heard and will be answered in God’s own way.

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    • Jim 7 Mar 2013 at 8:51 pm

      You have that just backward. If our faith is in vain our prayer isnt heard. You have turned prayer into a work which earns faith.

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  4. Rik Rasmussen 7 Mar 2013 at 10:58 pm

    The sentence makes more sense to me if I imagine a comma thus: “This must be so, or our faith is vain.” Luther is saying if we pray earnestly (with faith), our prayer will be heard, although perhaps not as or when we wish. The he says “this must be so” or else “our faith is vain”. He is not saying “our faith IS vain (wasted)”. If there was no assurance of our prayer being heard, there would be no basis for faith, only a hope that it might be heard. Without the assurance of a hearing, our faith WOULD be vain. We pray with the faith that it IS heard.

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