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Psalm
118:19-29


Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the LORD. This is the gate of the LORD; the righteous shall enter through it. I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation. The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is the LORD's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
 
 Save us, we pray, O LORD! O LORD, we pray, give us success!
 
 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! We bless you from the house of the LORD. The LORD is God, and he has made his light to shine upon us. Bind the festal sacrifice with cords, up to the horns of the altar!
 
 You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you. Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! 
(ESV)
Doing All in Prayer
Monday of Lent 5
14 March 2016
Prayer does everything; not because of the one praying, but because of the One who hears prayer and answers. However, we become so busy about our own doing that we lose sight of the power of prayer and the God who hears it. We have the mad delusion that, if we work hard enough, we can fix everything. We are deluded because we fix nothing and the focus of our work is false. God alone is the one who saves, fixing His way, by grace, a world broken by sin.
 
Our work should not be focused on what we can do, because this is ultimately idolatry. If God is the doer, then to claim that we are doing is to place ourselves ahead of God. This delusion is all the worse because what we accomplish is actually worse than nothing. It is positively harmful. Instead, our work should be focused on prayer to the One who can do vastly more than we can ask or imagine (Eph 3:20). We ask. He does.
 
If prayer is that powerful, and it is, then it is not a matter of the masses of prayer going up from multiple pray-ers. God is not like a member of Congress listening to noisy constituents; the more who squawk the more likely they are to be heard. Instead, the prayer of a righteous man accomplishes much (Jam 5:16), only because the righteous God hears and answers. So just one man praying can hold back an ocean of trouble, like the little Dutch boy who held back the North Sea by sticking his finger in the dike. Who knows what evils have been averted because a little child prayed for rescue for a nation or a city? God knows. He has done. The rescue is His to give, ours to pray for. If you have prayed you have done all.

 

Martin Luther

"We must know this: all our shelter and protection rest in prayer alone. For we are far too weak to deal with the devil and all his power and followers who set themselves against us. They might easily crush us under their feet. Therefore, we must consider and take up those weapons with which Christians must be armed in order to stand against the devil (2Co 10:4; Eph 6:11). But what do you imagine has done such great things up till now? What has stopped or quelled the counsels, purposes, murder, and riot of our enemies, by which the devil thought he would crush us, together with the gospel? It was the prayer of a few godly people standing in the middle like an iron wall for our side. Otherwise they would have witnessed a far different tragedy. They would have seen how the devil would have destroyed all Germany in its own blood. But now our enemies confidently ridicule prayer and make a mockery of it. However, we shall still be a match both for them and the devil by prayer alone, if we only persevere diligently and do not become slack. For whenever a godly Christian prays, 'Dear Father, let Your will be done' (Mt 6:10), God speaks from on high and says, 'Yes, dear child, it shall be so, in spite of the devil and all the world.'"

Martin Luther, Large Catechism, 3.30-32
 
Prayer
Lord Christ, You have averted a world of trouble by taking all the world's trouble into Your holy person and carrying it to the cross as a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Grant me constancy in prayer that I might accomplish all in You. Amen.
 
For Maryann Murray, who is suffering with illness, that the Lord would grant confidence in the Lord's care and relief at the right time
 
For all those who are tempted or despairing, that God the Lord would send the rescue they need so those who have been rescued might give all glory to Him
 
For those who are losing their faith and being wooed by the siren song of false religions focused on human works, that they would be called back to the true faith by the Word of the God who does all

Art: GRÜNEWALD, Matthias Isenheim Altarpiece (1515)

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