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A Simple Way to Pray [Hardcover]

By Martin Luther (Author) & Marjorie J. Thompson (Foreword by)
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Item description for A Simple Way to Pray by Martin Luther & Marjorie J. Thompson...

When asked by his barber and good friend, Peter Beskendorf, for some practical guidance on how to prepare oneself for prayer, Luther responded by writing this brief treatise, first published in the spring of 1535. Nearly 500 years later, his instruction continues to offer words fo spiritual nurture for us today. Luther counsels that prayer should begin with the Lord's Prayer and then proceed by way of the Ten Commandments and the Apostles' Creed. He provides practical advice on how the practice of prayer can enhance one's relationship to, and awareness of, God. This is not simply a study about prayer but is also a guide composed with actual prayers. Considered a devotional classic, this work speaks directly and powerfully to the vital need for the discipline of prayer for today's Christian.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Westminster John Knox Press
Pages   1
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.5" Width: 4.25" Height: 6.5"
Weight:   0.25 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jul 1, 2000
ISBN  0664222730  
ISBN13  9780664222734  

Availability  0 units.

More About Martin Luther & Marjorie J. Thompson

Martin Luther Martin Luther (1483-1546) was the Father of the Reformation. Most famous possibly for his 95 theses, he wrote many works which sparked debate and helped shape thinking - not only in his own time, but ours as well.

Martin Luther was born in 1483 and died in 1546.

Martin Luther has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Anchor Library of Religion
  2. Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought
  3. Library of Christian Classics
  4. Luther's Works (Concordia)

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Authors, A-Z > ( L ) > Luther, Martin
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > General
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Worship & Devotion > Prayerbooks
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality > Prayer

Christian Product Categories
Books > Christian Living > Spiritual Growth > Prayer

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Reviews - What do customers think about A Simple Way to Pray?

A Classic Protestant Devotional  Dec 15, 2002
This is a very small book containing Martin Luther's response to his barber's questions about prayer. This is a book that can be read within the confines of an hour, but reveals both thoughts and techniques about prayer that the serious minded Christian will want to take with them and apply for a lifetime.

When it comes to the subject of prayer, there is no shortage of books and other materials that are available for Christians to peruse. But this little book by Luther is quite substantive not only in its approach to prayer, but also in its attitude of total reverence. In many ways, the book is a recital of a number of Luther's actual prayers and this provides an extremely insightful look not only into the prayer life of Martin Luther but also about the scope of prayer that Luther adopted. I suspect many modern readers will be extremely impressed and even marvel at the depths to which Luther made prayer the centerpiece of his Christian walk, and how such devotion to prayer seems so beyond what many of us contemporary Christians tend to practice in our quiet time with God.

There are two main strengths in this book that can transform a person's prayer life. First are the words of Luther himself in his prayers. The reader gets the sense of Luther's crystal clear understanding of the eternal immensity of the power of God and the utter helplessness of man absent God. Gaining a proper perspective in prayer means understanding who it is we are praying to, and understanding why we pray. I happen to think that a widespread return to Luther's perspective in these areas would revolutionize the universal Church through much more effective prayer that comes with having a Biblical understanding of the sovereignty of God and why we need Him.

Second, Luther's technique toward prayer in this book is hugely important. In particular, his fourfold partition in prayer of instruction, thanksgiving, confession/repentance, and request after meditating on a Scripture passage is outstanding. Luther properly puts the emphasis on Bible reading as a key way to ready the heart for sincere and meaningful prayer. Further, he stresses the need for the Christian to follow the guidings of the Holy Spirit in prayer so as to have a dynamic and heart-filled prayer life rather than a prayer life of mind numbing ritualism or legalism.

In summary, this is great instruction from a giant of the Christian faith that we as Christians should strongly consider in our attitudes towards prayer.

A simple little book on prayer  Mar 26, 2002
Martin Luther's barber once asked him to instruct him regarding prayer. This little 62-page book is Luther's reply. He lovingly, warmly writes his thoughts on regularly praying the Lord's Prayer, the Ten Commandments, and the Apostle's Creed. And Luther does not simply call for a thoughtless, legalistic recitation. Rather, he advocates pouring ourselves and everything we have into these prayers, fully involving our minds and hearts. Read this book, be blessed in your prayers, and learn what it means to pray to "Our Father."
A Small Diamond awaits your perusal  Sep 17, 2000
A Simple Way to Pray is an excerpt from volume 43 of the American Edition of Luther's Works. In that sense nothing new is in this book; that does not mean the book is worth little. Luther explains and shows how on can pray The Our Father (Lord's Prayer), the Ten Commandments, and the Creed. Surely, anyone can repeat these, but Luther entreats the reader to approach each Commandment (or petition) as a fourfold garland: a schoolbook, a hymnal, a penitential book, and a book of prayer.

For example, for the 5th Commandment, "You must not murder," Luther writes:

[Garland 1] Here I learn, first of all, that God desires me to love my neighbor, so that I do him no bodily harm . . . that I am obliged to assist and counsel him in every bodily need.

[Garland 2] I give thanks for such ineffable love, providence, a faithfulness toward me by which he has placed this mighty shield and wall to protect my physical safety.

[Garland 3] I confess and lament my own wickedness and that of the world, not only that we are so terribly ungrateful for such fatherly love and solicitude toward us-but what is especially scandalous, that we do not acknowledge this commandment and teaching, are unwilling to learn it, and neglect it as though it did not concern us or we had no part in it.

[Garland 4] I pray dear Father to lead us to an understanding of this his sacred commandment and to help us keep it and live in accordance with it.

This is an abbreviated version of each garland, for Luther writes more in depth on each fourfold area. I found myself praying some of what Luther wrote as I read it, realizing that I do not pray as I would like.

I this era when many do not pray, or pray ineffectually, this book teaches us the hows and the why. In the same way that children must be taught to speak properly, so, too, must the Christian be taught-for Jesus Himself gave the Our Father for that very purpose. Prayer is a result of what God has done for us, for without God's mercy and granting of faith, what person would have the desire to pray to the one, true God? Prayer is never a work that one does for God. God speaks to us in His Word, and we speak to Him in prayer.

This little book can easily be read in one sitting; yet, one may want to reread it often! The book's only fault, which is minor, is that the translation seems wooden and stilted to the modern ear. For instance, Pg. 32 reads: "It seems to me that if someone could see what arises as prayer from cold and unattentive heart he would conclude that he had never seen a more ridiculous kind of buffoonery." See how much crisper this translation reads from By Faith Alone: "If it were possible to see into a person's heart, nothing would be more ridiculous than seeing the thoughts of a cold, undevoted heart in prayer."

Because of this sometimes wooden translation style, this book garners four stars instead of five. Nonetheless, do not let the awkward turn of a phrase keep you from buying, reading, and rereading this book. This book has value to any Christian desiring to learn how to pray better; "It is a good thing to let prayer be the first business of the morning and the last at night." (Pg. 18) In your grace and mercy, dear Father, make this so.


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