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Martin Luther: A man of prayer and reformation – Part 1



MANY things have been written about the impact of the 16th century Protestant Reformation on the Church and its significance to us today. Beyond the Five Solas, which was, and is still, the greatest rediscovery of Scriptural truth during the Reformation, little has been written about the central place of prayer in the life of the great reformer, Martin Luther. No Christian can succeed in leading a Reformation without being a prayer warrior.

The question is, what energised Luther and gave him such courage to stand against the powerful institutions of the day? Though, not amply stated, prayer and the word of God inspired the reformer and the movement he embodied. We come to this conclusion from the many statements on a prayer attributed to Martin Luther. Prayer and the study of the word of God seem to be the underlying bulwark for his success. Like the reformer admitted, “In human affairs, we accomplish everything through prayer. What has been properly arranged, we keep in order, what has gone amiss we improve or change, what we cannot change and improve we bear, overcoming all trouble and sustains all by prayer. Against such forces, there is no help but prayer.” If ever anyone was in doubt as to where Luther’s faith and courage came from, then you need to read what he says here and you will be convinced: “If I should neglect prayer but a single day, I should lose a great deal of the fire of faith.” Thus, for him prayer was a faith builder.
Prayer: A Daily Routine

One of the quotes that give us insight into his daily schedule and where he drew his inspiration from is this: “If I fail to spend two hours in prayer each morning, the devil gets the victory through the day. I have so much business I cannot get on without spending three hours daily in prayer.” But the great reformer seemed to have graduated from a two-hour daily prayer in the morning to spending three hours daily in the presence of God. Elsewhere, he is quoted to have said, “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.” The phrase, “I have so much to do” shows us the workload Luther had to grapple with. 
Prayer Not A Perfunctory Business 

For Luther, prayer was not just a perfunctory business, but also a serious work. His heart and whole being was very much attuned to prayer. As he stated, “Grant that I may not pray alone with the mouth; help me that I may pray from the depths of my heart.” It is in the place of prayer that he struck an intimate chord with God: “Prayer is climbing up into the heart of God,” he said. That he depended on prayer to make progress in his endeavour is evident from this statement. “The less I pray, the harder it gets; the more I pray, the better it goes.”
Prayer And The Word

The amazing revelations Luther had in the Word of God started with prayer. Prayer shed light for him to comprehend the Word. “We cannot attain to the understanding of Scripture either by study or by the intellect. Your first duty is to begin by prayer. Entreat the Lord to grant you, of his great mercy, the true understanding of his Word…”

The task of leading a reformation is so overwhelming that none dare embark on it without the supernatural power of God. The secret of Martin Luther’s success was his closet discipline.

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