How Do You Pray?
by Noah Hefley
July 13, 2019
The great 16th century reformer, Martin Luther, was asked by his barber, Peter Besken, the question, “How do you pray?” Luther thought so much of the question that he wrote a letter to his barber that was later published in forty printed pages. In it, he said for instance, “A good barber must have his thoughts and eyes concentrated upon the razor and the beard. If he keeps talking or looking around or thinking of something else, he is likely to cut a man’s mouth or nose-or even his throat. So anything that is to be done well ought to be done right so as to occupy the whole mind with all his faculties and members. How much more must prayer possess the heart completely if it is to be a good prayer.
Luther’s careful response speaks volumes regarding the prayerful attention we should give to this important spiritual discipline. His words on the primacy of prayer as a lifetime investment are undergirded by Luther’s powerful life and great influence. He once said concerning his own prayer experience, “If I should neglect prayer but a single day, I should lose a great deal of the fire of faith.”
Personally, I consider few things in Christian living to be on the same level of high priority as having a prayer time. It would be difficult to exaggerate its importance, yet it still seems so easy to neglect. Calvin Miller once wrote, “Prayer is not hard, but the will to pray is hard.” Despite this tendency, we can hardly afford to neglect this duty. If we must be guilty of failure to perform some activity in our daily regimen, let it not be this one. Further, may we remind ourselves repeatedly to approach prayer thoughtfully and whole-heartedly. If not Luther, then Jesus reminds us why-
“Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
That is why Jesus also said, “Men (and women) should always pray and not faint” (Luke 18:1).
You may have many wonderful things planned to do today but let the first thing be to pray. Take a few moments to bow down before your Maker and spend some quality minutes with the Lord of your life. As you do so, give Him your all for He is worthy of everything! Amen and Amen!
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