When Prayer Becomes Cool

You probably have never heard of Peter Beskendorf. I had not either. Peter Beskendorf was Martin Luther’s barber. During the course of one of the many haircuts that Peter gave Luther, he asked Luther for a simple way to pray that an ordinary person could use. Luther wrote a book to answer that request. The book, titled A Simple Way to Pray, is entirely based on the structure and content of Luther’s Small Catechism. Why? Because the Small Catechism was not intended to be a textbook of doctrine, but as a daily resource for prayer for all Christians.

In today’s world, we are often so busy that we do not take the time to pray. Prayer is not “fun” per se, and it is not exactly a “cool” or trendy thing to do. The title of this Newsletter is intentionally misleading. In describing his own method of praying, Luther admitted, “First, 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 and, 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” (Luther’s Works, vol. 43, A Simple Way to Pray, p. 193.)

As Christians, we, too, oftentimes feel that our prayer life becomes cool, as in cold, and joyless. As with any routine, there is a temptation for it to become “old hat”. We can be tempted to go through the motions of prayer just as with any other habit, or not do it at all. That is when and how prayer becomes cool and joyless. Yet our Lord teaches us to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). This does not mean that all the Christian should do with his or her time is pray. No, we all have responsibilities to our various vocations that require our faithful attention and focus. Instead, to pray without ceasing means to perform those responsibilities prayerfully. Maybe it’s beginning our work or school day with a quick prayer asking for God’s help to be faithful to our task; perhaps it’s beginning a “day off” by asking God to help us be a light to the world. Regardless of how we feel towards prayer, as Christians we are commanded by God to do it, so we should!

Luther writes in the Large Catechism, “God does not consider prayer because of the person, but because of His Word and obedience to it… Let this be the first and most important point, that all our prayer must be based and rest upon obedience to God… [Secondly], we should be more encouraged and moved to pray because God also added a promise and declared that it should be done for us.”

Prayer has a command and a promise. Prayer itself is both Law and Gospel! God gives us an ordinance to pray because He desires us to come to Him with our thanksgivings and supplications. Yet He promises to hear and answer them in His way and in His time. It is the comfort of that promise that keeps a prayer life from becoming cool and joyless.

When you feel the temptation to quit praying or when your prayer life becomes cool and joyless, pray with me, “Lord, increase my faith that trusts you hear my prayers; and increase my faith that trusts you will answer me!”

Your Servant in Christ, Pastor Hromowyk

WORSHIP SCHEDULE

Sunday Worship Services - 8:00 A.M. and 10:30 A.M.
Compline Services, Wednesday's - 7:00 P.M.


 

COMMUNION SCHEDULE
 

8:00 A.M. First and Third Sundays

10:30 A.M. Second and Fourth Sundays

Fifth Sunday, Both Services

COMMUNION STATEMENT
Special note to our visitors and guests: Because those who eat and drink our Lord’s body and blood unworthily do so to their great harm and because Holy Communion is a confession of the faith which is confessed at this altar, any who are not yet instructed, in doubt, or who hold a confession differing from that of this congregation and The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, are kindly asked to refrain from partaking of the Sacrament until first speaking with our Pastor.

Wednesday Night Service/Bible Study

The Wednesday Services will resume in April begining at 7:00 P.M. in the Sanctuary, followed by Bible Study in the Family Room. Private Confession and Absolution will be available from 6:15 P.M. - 6:45 P.M.  in Pastor Hromowyk's office.