Home > commandments, meditation, prayer > Meditation, Martin Luther and the 10 Commandments

Meditation, Martin Luther and the 10 Commandments

Martin Luther, the great Doctor of Grace, gave the 10 Commandments a place of prominence in the oral instruction of Christian truth alongside the ancients standards for training: the Lord’s Prayer and the Apostle’s Creed. As Luther’s heirs many of us have lost connection with his emphasis upon the commandments. We may fight to place them in public places, but we rarely pause to meditate upon the convicting wisdom of God revealed in these words.

Without the unchanging foundation of the 10 Commandments, many words in the Christian faith like love and fear of God are reduced to an undefined subjective experience. As a result, we struggle to understand what is means to love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. Or worse, we pit the fear of God against the love of God, because we cannot grasp how the two are at work in our lives (with limiting them to some personal feeling toward God). The Word of God links the fear of God and the love of God to the 10 Commandments, and as we meditate upon them, the Holy Spirit changes us by this holy reflection of God’s truth upon our lives.

Luther’s simple advice for praying through the 10 Commandments might be helpful for all of us as we seek to learn how to meditate upon the commands. He recommends four ways to approach each command:

1. Instruction – We ask the Holy Spirit to teach us what the command is intended to be and how does God require me to act in response.

2. Thanksgiving – We thank the Lord for the grace and blessings of the command, and His power that is at work in me to fulfill and embody the command fully.

3. Confession – We confess our own failure to obey the command and our sins related to that command.

4. Prayer – We pray for His guidance and strength in obeying the command.

Luther suggests that we pray through each command in the above manner. We may not always pray through all the commands because the Spirit may choose to bring one particular command into focus for our prayers and meditations. I believe that as we take time to meditate and pray through the commands, the Spirit can reveal how these commands unfold throughout the Old and New Testaments.

You may find great benefit from read Luther’s Simple Way to Pray online.

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  1. April 17, 2008 at 8:20 pm

    I came across a very good acrostic recently by Cassandra Martin for prayer. I have found it to be a great reminder. It is based on the index prayer Jesus offers the disciples in response to their inquiry, “Lord, teach us to pray.” It goes:
    P – PRAISE God for who He is, what He does, and what He has done in Christ
    R – Ask God to REFLECT back to you areas where you need to grow in Christ’s
    likeness.
    A – ASK God for your needs and those of others
    Y – YEILD to Him, “Not my will be done, but Yours.”

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