A Pocket Lighter to Ignite Your Heart (Martin Luther and the Lord’s Prayer)

Could a prayer change your life? This little one could ignite your heart for Christ as it has mine.

The other day on my Sabbath, I sat on a rock by a stream for hours praying the Lord’s Prayer with Martin Luther. His barber asked him how he prayed and he wrote him a letter featuring his meditations and prayers inspired by Jesus’ prayer. What a blessing it was to read and pray from his classic little devotional book: A Simple Way to Pray.

I shared this prayer in our recent Soul Shepherding Board of Directors meeting and as part of a sermon I preached.

Martin Luther said…

“I want your heart to be stirred and guided concerning the thoughts which ought to be comprehended in the Lord’s Prayer…

“Listen in silence… The Holy Spirit himself preaches here, and one word of his sermon is far better than a thousand of our prayers. Many times I have learned more from one prayer than I might have learned from much reading and speculation…

“I suckle at the Lord’s Prayer like a child, and as an old man eat and drink from it and never get my fill…

“With practice one can take the… chapter of Holy Scripture… and use it as [a pocket lighter] to kindle a flame in the heart.”

Martin Luther, A Simple Way to Pray, © 1535, p. 29-30, 33, 56

I paraphrased the Lord’s Prayer…

Inspired by Martin Luther and my spiritual mentor Dallas Willard, I often meditate on the Lord’s Prayer that Jesus taught us. I go through each phrase in the old version of it, re-word it in my own words, and then spin off into personal prayers for myself and others.

Dear Father, in the heavens above us, all around us, even within us,

May your name be most precious to us and bring us delight always;

May your kingdom rule be manifested to us so that your good, pleasing, and perfect will is accomplished in us;

Provide the food and care that we need today;

Forgive us our offenses against you and the ways we’ve neglected you, as we also forgive those who have offended or neglected us;

Lead us by the hand so we don’t fall down in trials and are kept safe all evil;

Because all we want is to live in your kingdom, by your power, and for your glory.

Yes! In Jesus’ name and by your Holy Spirit you answer our prayers with love and power.

After the Bible, classic devotional books like Martin Luther’s book, A Simple Way to Pray, are the most important books I read for my spiritual formation in Christ. Rare is the book on the Christian best-seller list today that compares with these time-tested books that flow with the living waters of God’s Spirit. Read my article, “My Top 5 Classics of Christian Devotion”, and you’ll be inspired to pick up one of the writings of the devotional masters.


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