Playmobil Martin Luther.
Read all about it HERE.
What was Martin Luther’s quiet time like? How did this great sixteenth century reformer spend time with God each day?
Two useful booklets provide a starting point to answering these questions. Luther’s own booklet ‘A Simple Way to Pray’ which is a letter he wrote to his barber Peter Beskendorf answering his question “Dr Luther, how do you pray?” The second booklet ‘Martin Luther’s Quiet Time’ was written by Walter Trobisch and contains comments on the answer Luther gives about how to pray and shows how what Luther wrote can be used to aid a Christian in their quiet time.
What does Luther do when he prays? He begins with the Ten Commandments and then “Out of each commandment I make a garland of four twisted strands. That is, I take each commandment first as a teaching, which is what it actually is, and I reflect upon what our Lord God so earnest requires of me here. Secondly, I make out of it a reason for thanksgiving. Thirdly, a confession and fourthly, a prayer petition.”
After he had finished praying the Ten Commandments, he takes the Lord’s Prayer and does the same thing. And if he had “time and leisure” after the Lord’s Prayer, he takes the Apostle’s Creed, statement by statement, praying it the same way. Luther did these things to ‘warm up the heart’ before studying the Bible. In ‘A Simple Way to Pray’ Luther shows his barber how to pray through each of the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Apostle’s Creed, writing out for him the ‘garland of four twisted strands’.
Walter Trobisch explains how “What Luther says about prayer can be applied to our Bible study and provides us with a tremendously helpful method for making a Bible passage meaningful to our personal life.”
He suggests that as we read the Bible verse by verse, we “make out of each verse a garland of four twisted strands.” By changing the order Luther gives, Trobisch says that quiet times can be enriched by asking four questions about a text:
- What am I grateful for? (Thanksgiving)
- What do I regret? (Confession)
- What should I ask for? (Prayer concerns)
- What shall I do? (Action)
He also reminds us of the warning Luther gives: “Don’t take too much upon yourself lest the spirit should get tired”. Trobisch writes “It may be more fruitful to take a passage of a few verses and shake each verse like the branches of a tree until some fruit falls down. This will change Bible study from a boring duty to an exciting adventure.”
If your quiet time has gone quiet, or it’s become a bit stale, both Luther’s way of praying, and Trobisch suggestions about how this method can be used to study the Bible might just be what you need to kick start it again. Both booklets are worth a read and neither takes very long to do so.
Superheroes of the Faith – Martin Luther
Powerpoint Pictures: Batman; Superman; The Incredible Hulk; Martin Luther; Sound effect needed is available to buy HERE
Can you tell me the name of the superhero that has this nickname? The Dark Knight [Batman]. The Man of Steel [Superman]. The Green Goliath [The Incredible Hulk]. The Philosopher?
I want to tell you the story of a man who had the nickname ‘the philosopher’. Unlike Batman and Superman he didn’t have any super abilities. He was just an ordinary person who did a heroic thing.
What heroic thing do you think he did? I’ll give you a clue, it started with this sound. [Play hammering sound effect].
What was that the sound of? [Hammering]. What heroic thing did this person do with a hammer?
Let me tell you…
The man’s name was Martin Luther and he lived about 500 years ago in Germany.
One day Martin Luther was travelling on a journey when there was a terrible thunderstorm and a crack of lightning almost hit him. He was okay but that day he realised that he was not ready to meet God.
Martin Luther decided that he was going to do all that he could to get ready, so he became a monk. As a monk he spent all his time praying and fasting, studying the Bible, and doing good works like looking after the poor and hungry.
But even after doing all these things, he still felt a long way from God. Luther knew that he was guilty and that troubled him.
In 1515 Luther was preparing to given a series of lectures at University of Wittenberg on the letter the apostle Paul wrote to the Romans. As he was preparing he came across Romans 1:17 [read out verse].
Reading that verse transformed Luther’s life. As he read the verse, it dawned on him that it was possible to be right with God. It was possible to be forgiven. It was possible because of a totally free gift. It was available only by faith in Jesus. He began to trust in Christ.
But this presented a problem to Martin Luther because the church was teaching something different. It was teaching that it possible to earn or even buy rightness with God and a place in heaven.
On 30th October 1517 Luther nailed his 95 theses (95 problems he had with the Catholic church) on the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg. That moment was the start of the Protestant reformation.
From this moment new churches formed made up of people who believed that what the Bible said was more important than what the church leaders say, and who believed that salvation is a gift available by faith in Jesus and not something that can be earned.
Martin Luther is a superhero because he believed that salvation and a right relationship with God is possible only through faith in Jesus Christ and made sure that other people knew this.
Because of Martin Luther I can be part of a church that believes that the only way in which we can be rescued from God’s judgment because of our sin is through faith in Jesus Christ and so can you.
More talks about Superheroes of the Faith can be found HERE.