“Pray, and let God worry.” ― Martin Luther
Many years ago, Professor Rod Rosenbladt was teaching at an evangelical college. He taught a class on reformation history. During this class, some of his students became curious about the Lutheran expression of the Christian faith. One question really stuck with him. They asked, “Do Lutherans pray?”
The above question shows us that we need more people like the Rev. Dr. Rosenbladt to communicate the nature and content of the Lutheran expression to a Christian community which sees you and me as something of a mystery.
But, the question also reflects a sad belief that Lutherans are passive in their prayer life. That’s unfortunate. Luther, himself, said, “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.” He was not a fatalist. He did not believe in Que Sera, Sera. He believed in a God who actively answered the prayers of His people.
“Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance. It is laying hold of His willingness” (Martin Luther). Many times, our mindset is that we have to “set aside” time for prayer. We need to have a prayer corner or a prayer closet to do this heavy lifting. Yet Paul writes this to the Thessalonians, “16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
What is your idea of prayer? Is prayer a formal practice? Is it an action that demands all of your mind? Do you have to have all of your heart in it for it to work? What obstacles prevent you from praying? Paul didn’t command people to pray so they would be righteous in God’s sight. That already happened at the cross outside of Jerusalem where Jesus died for you.
That cross wasn’t neat and tidy. The instrument of Christ’s crucifixion was gruesome. His death was messy. And, it is the same way with prayer. If we believe that prayer has to be at the right time, in the right place, with Holy piety, then we will never pray. No, prayer is mostly a messy, half-spoken, half-believing mess.
We pray when we’re tired. We pray when we’re in pain. We pray when anxiety has overtaken us. We pray when despair has already robbed us of faith. We throw up figurative ‘Hail Mary’s and gamble on the chance that God hears us.
But, does He? Does He hear me? Sometimes, it seems He has locked Himself into a room and ignored my pleas. It’s enough to make most people give up. And some have. It’s easy to become lazy or tired of repeating the same things.
“God wants us to pray, and he wants to hear our prayers—not because we are worthy, but because he is merciful” (Luther). Adding to this thought; God does hear us. Why? Because we are such good prayers? No, but because we pray them through Jesus Christ (Rev. Ron Hodel).
So, pray! Pray for yourself, your family, your church, your community. Pray for wisdom. Pray for guidance. Pray for help. Pray for healing. Pray for peace. Pray for hope. Pray for the proclamation of the Gospel every Sunday.
Pray, and let God worry.