Ash Wednesday is fast approaching, and the lenten season is almost upon us. Accordingly, I thought some more Table Talk from Herr Luther would be appropriate. Here he is talking about the power of the Lord’s Prayer:
Our Saviour Christ as excellency as briefly comprehends in the Lord’s prayer all things needful and necessary. Except under troubles, trials, and vexations, prayer cannot rightly be made. God says: “Call on me in the time of trouble;” without trouble it is only a bald prattling, and not from the heart; `tis a common saying: “Need teaches to pray.” And though the papists say that God well understands all the words of those that pray, yet St Bernard is far of another opinion, who says: God hears not the words of one that prays, unless he that prays first hears them himself. The pope is a mere tormentor of the conscience. The assemblies of his greased crew, in prayer, were altogether like the croaking of frogs, which edified nothing at all; mere sophistry and deceit, fruitless and unprofitable. Prayer is a strong wall and fortress of the church; it is a godly Christian’s weapon, which no man knows or finds, but only he who has the spirit of grace and of prayer.
The three first petitions in our Lord’s prayer comprehend such great and celestial things, that no heart is able to search them out. The fourth contains the whole policy and economy of temporal and house government, and all things necessary for this life. The fifth fights against our own evil consciences, and against original and actual sins, which trouble them. Truly that prayer was penned by wisdom itself; none but God could have done it.
Here is Luther pithy without restraint. Don’t worry about what to say to God. God has given us the perfect prayer for any occasion. We should use it!
P.S. – this brings to mind a happening with my three year old. Each night, we recite the Lord’s Prayer as a family before bedtime. My five-year-old daughter will remind us if we forget. My son is often resistant to the recitation. But last night, he was right with us, more or less. The Lord’s Prayer is a little big for him so he would try to repeat the last word of each petition after it was said (it sounded sort of like an echo). As we came to the end, we all said, “Thine is the Kindgom, the power, and the . . . .” “ROCKET!” shouts my son. At present, he associates “power” with rockets, thrusts, and blasting off. Needless to say, we were not able to finish the prayer without laughing. I would like to think his guardian angels shared in the chuckle (at least what might pass for a chuckle among angels).