Sunday, June 17, 2012

June 17, 2012

The Lutheran Book of Prayer

A while ago I received a small, burgundy-colored hardbound book called the “Lutheran Book of Prayer,” but I have neglected to really “get into” it until now. The very first thing I read inside the book proved to be inspirational. It was a quote from Martin Luther, written in 1537, and is so very true: “Let this be for you an encouragement, that with all diligence and earnestness it may become your habit to pray. For next to the preaching of the Gospel, in which God speaks with us and gives us all His grace and blessings, the highest and foremost work we can do is to speak with Him through prayer and receive from Him what He gives us.”

The Lutheran Book of Prayer is a great little volume for those seeking specific prayers. Some of the sections include prayers for the church, prayers for the world, and prayers of the sick. Some sections include morning and evening prayers for each day of the week. While many might not be able to “use” some of the prayers for specific organizations and in particular situations, there are also “generalized” tidbits such as “Selected Psalms” and the Ecumenical Creeds (those that every Christian, no matter the denomination, is expected to confess). The creeds include the Athanasian Creed and the Nicene Creed. 

I happened to come across part of the “Prayers For Our World, Nation, and Community” chapter, the prayer for our armed forces: “O Creator of the universe, You did not form Adam from the dust of the world so that his children would spill their brothers’ blood in that dust.” My mind flew immediately to the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre and the many atrocities committed during the Reformation era and beyond. The light of the Gospel came only with great bloodshed. It is impossible to read the thoughts of Luther (this book is made up of many of his writings), Calvin, and other Reformers without remembering the dead. 

All in all, while I often forget the gems hidden within it, I think the Lutheran Book of Prayer is a nice little volume through which one must wade to get to the “good stuff,” the things that are relevant to each individual life. To my fellow Lutherans, consider it money well spent.

(c) 2012 Joyously Saved

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