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DEVOTION//Overcoming a prayer slump

DEVOTION//Overcoming a prayer slump

Martin Luther treasured the value to time spent listening to his Father soeak through his Word and time spent speaking to his Father in prayer. But there were times when he found personal Scripture study and prayer hard. He explains his solution below. Note that when Luther speaks about prayer here, he always assumes that speaking to his Father is accompanied by reading and meditating on his Father’s Word.

When I feel that I have become cool and joyless in prayer because of other tasks or thoughts (for the flesh and the devil always impede and obstruct prayer), I take my little psalter, hurry to my room, or, if it be the day and hour for it, to the church where a congregation is assembled. As time permits, I say quietly to myself and word-for-word the Ten Commandments, the Creed, and, if I have time, some words of Christ or of Paul, or some psalms, just as a child might do.

It is a good thing to let prayer be the first business of the morning and the last at night. Guard yourself carefully against those false, deluding ideas which tell you, “Wait a little while. I will pray in an hour; first I must attend to this or that.” Such thoughts get you away from prayer into other affairs which so hold your attention and involve you that nothing comes of prayer for that day.…

Finally, mark this, that you must always speak the amen firmly. Never doubt that God in his mercy will surely hear you and say yes to your prayers. Never think that you are kneeling or standing alone, rather think that the whole of Christendom, all devout Christians, are standing there beside you and you are standing among them in a common, united petition which God cannot disdain. Do not leave your prayer without having said or thought, “Very well, God has heard my prayer; this I know as a certainty and a truth.” That is what amen means.