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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

A Simple Way to Pray # 4

A Simple Way to Pray # 4

~Martin Luther~

The Third Commandment: Remember the Sabbath Day to Keep it Holy

The Third Commandment: "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy." I learn from this, first of all, that the sabbath day has not been instituted for the sake of being idle or indulging in worldly pleasures, but in order to keep it holy. However, it is not sanctified by our works and actions - our works are not holy - but by the word of God, which alone is wholly pure and sacred and which sanctifies everything that comes in contact with it, be it time, place, person, labor, rest, etc. According to Paul, who says that every creature is consecrated by word and prayer, I Timothy 4:5, our works are consecrated through the word. I realize therefore that on the sabbath I must,above all, hear and contemplate God's word. Thereafter I should give thanks in my own words, praise God for all his benefits, and pray for myself and for the whole world. He who so conducts himself on the sabbath day keeps it holy. He who fails to do so is worse  than the person who works on the sabbath.

Second: I thank God in this commandment for His great and beautiful goodness and grace which He has given us in the preaching of His Word. And He has instructed us to make use of it, especially on the sabbath day, for the meditation of the human can never exhaust such a treasure. His Word is the only light in the darkness of this life, a word of life, consolation, and supreme blessedness. Where this precious and saving word is absent, nothing remains but a fearsome and terrifying darkness, error and faction,death and every calamity, and the tyranny of the devil himself, as we can see with our own eyes every day.

Third, I confess and acknowledge great sin and wicked ingratitude on my part because all my life I have made disgraceful use of the sabbath and have thereby despised His precious and dear word in a wretched way. I have been too lazy, listless,and uninterested to listen to it, let alone to have desired it sincerely or to have been grateful for it. I have let my dear God proclaim His word to me in vain, have dismissed the noble treasure, and have trampled it underfoot. He has tolerated this in His great and divine mercy and has not ceased in His Fatherly, divine love and faithfulness to keep on preaching to me and calling me to the salvation of my soul. For this I repent and ask for grace and forgiveness.

Fourth, I pray for myself and for the whole world that the gracious Father my preserve us in His holy Word and not withdraw it from us because of our sin, ingratitude,and laziness. May He preserve us from factious spirits and false teachers, and may He send faithful and honest laborers into His harvest [Matthew 9:38), that is, devout pastors and preachers. May He grant us grace humbly to hear, accept, and honor their words as His own words and to offer our sincere thanks and praise.

The Fourth Commandment: Honor Your Father and Your Mother

The Fourth Commandment: Honor Your Father and Your Mother

First, I learn to acknowledge God, my Creator, how wondrously He has created me, body and soul, and how He has given me life through my parents and has installed in them the desire to care for me, the fruit of their bodies, with all their power. He has brought me into this world, has sustained and cared for me, nurtured and educated me with great diligence, carefulness, and concern, through danger, trouble, and hard work. To this moment He protects me, his creature, and helps me in countless dangers and troubles. It is as though He were creating me anew every moment. But the devil does not willingly concede us one single moment of life.

Second, I thank the rich and gracious Creator on behalf of myself and all the world that He has established and assured in the commandment the increase and preservation of the human race, that is, of households and of states. Without these two institutions or governments the world could not exist a single year, because without government there can be no peace, and where there is no peace there can be no family, without family, children cannot be begotten or raised, and fatherhood and motherhood would cease to be. It is the purpose of this commandment to guard and preserve both family and state, to admonish children and subjects to be obedient, and to enforce it, too, and to let no violation go unpunished - otherwise children would have disrupted the family long ago by their disobedience, and subjects would have disorganized the state and laid it to waste for they outnumber parents and rulers. There are no words to fully describe the benefit of this commandment.

Third, I confess and lament my wicked disobedience and sin, in defiance of God's commandment I have not honored or obeyed my parents; I have often provoked and offended them, have been impatient with their parental discipline, have been resentful and scornful of their loving admonition and have rather gone along with loose company and evil companions. God Himself condemns such disobedient children and withholds from them a long life; many of them succumb and perish in disgrace before they reach adulthood. Whoever does not obey father and mother must obey the executioner or otherwise come, through God's wrath, to an evil end, etc. Of all this I repent and ask for grace and forgiveness.

Fourth, I pray for myself and for all the world that God would bestow His grace and pour His blessing richly upon the family and the state. Grant that from thistime on we may be devout, honor our parents, obey our superiors, and resist the devil when he entices us to be disobedient and rebellious, and so may we help improve home and nation by our actions and thus preserve the peace, all to the praise and glory of God for our own benefit and for the prosperity of all. Grant that we may acknowledge these His gifts and be thankful for them.

At this point we should add a prayer for our parents and superiors, that God may grant them understanding and wisdom to govern and rule us in peace and happiness. May He preserve them from tyranny, from riot and fury, and turn them to honor God's Word and not oppressit, nor persecute anyone or do injustice. Such excellent gifts must be sought by prayer, as Paul teaches; otherwise the devil will reign in the palace and everything fall into chaos and confusion.

If you are a father or mother, you should at this point remember your children and the workers in your household. Pray earnestly to the dear Father, who has set you in an office of honor in His name and intends that you be honored by the name "father." Ask that He grant you grace and blessing to look after and support your wife, children, and servants in a godly and Christian manner. May Hegive you wisdom and strength to tain them well in heart and will to follow your instructions with obedience. Both are God's gifts, your children and theway they flourish, that they turn out well and that they remain so. Otherwise the home is nothing but a pigsty and school for rascals, as one can see among the uncouth and godless.

(continued with # 5 - The Fifth Commandment: You Shall Not Kill)

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