The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Wise advice

'Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy' (Exodus 20:8)

This morning I pondered a section from Martin Luther's wonderful booklet A Simple Way to Pray, for a Good Friend (from 1535). Asked by his barber, Peter Beskendorf, for practical guidance in spiritual disciplines, Luther responded with a treatise on how the Lord's Prayer, Ten Commandments and Apostles' Creed teach us to pray.

While reading today I noticed how Luther's wise words concerning the third commandment contrast sharply with common attitudes in many churches today. People often complain that they "didn't get much out of that worship service."

Luther instead writes, "I confess and acknowledge my great sin and shameful unthankfulness in so disgracefully spending the Sabbath in my life and so miserably despising [God's] precious word, and being so lazy, so loath, and sated to hear it, much less ever heartily desiring it or giving thanks for it. I have therefore allowed my dear God to preach to me in vain. I have let slip the noble treasure and trampled it underfoot."

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