Lord, it is your will and command that we should come to you and pray. So I now come to please you. I ask you to forgive and to remove my sins which weigh heavily upon me. Let them not prevent me from coming to you in prayer. Amen. (11)
When you hear about Martin Luther, you expect certain themes:
- the inability to approach God in his own strength
- the recognition of his depravity
- an intense passion for God
These themes are not only reflected in the first prayer (above), but in almost every prayer in this little book. These are not prayer to riffle off mindlessly, but words to search your heart with.
Editor Herbert F. Brokering notes in the preface that “Doctrine was [Luther’s] way of life. It was the topic for each of his prayers. A credal statement was always in need of meditation and devotion” (7). This is especially true with his prayers on the Decalogue and the Lord’s Prayer.
I’ll admit that there were times when I felt his recognition of his own depravity began to eclipse the extent of God’s grace, but perhaps that’s just the sign of a broken-hearted saint.
—Martin Luther, Herbert F. Brokering, ed., Luther’s Prayers (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg, 1994).