Catechetical Refresher - Daily Prayers
Christ Lutheran Church
September 17, 2018
Everyone who studied catechism in the LCMS is familiar with the Synodical Catechism. It is Luther’s original Small Catechism with an extended section of questions and answers, backed with verses from Scripture which serve a “proof texts”. Many Lutherans memorized the questions and answers, as well as the Bible verses given. If you are such a person thank God for the many blessings he provided you; and keep that knowledge alive by reviewing a few of the catechism’s questions every day. It will make you strong in spirit, and give you peace in the face of sin and of every wickedness the world can conjure up. Because it is divine truth; stronger than all evil and sorrow. As David writes in the 3rd Psalm, “But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.” If you have not studied the catechism, or don’t remember it any more you can remedy that beginning today.
But in addition to study be sure to pray the catechism’s prayers every day. After a short time you will have them memorized, and they will be like daily breath, that will keep you spiritually attuned however busy your life might be.
The prayers of the catechism can be found in your Synodical Catechism, in the little booklet (available at church) called: A Simple Explanation Of The Christian Faith. Or you can access them online here.
Included are the following prayers:
In his catechism Luther suggests that we should begin each day with the sign of the cross, followed by the Apostle’s Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, then this Morning Prayer, “I thank You, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have kept me this night from all harm and danger; and I pray that You would keep me this day also from sin and every evil, that all my doings and life may please You. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen. “
Upon completion Luther gives this sound advice: Then go joyfully to your work, singing a hymn, like that of the Ten Commandments, or whatever your devotion may suggest.
Likewise Luther suggests we end each day with the same sequence: sign of the cross, Apostle’s Creed, Lord’s Prayer then this Evening Prayer, “I thank You, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have graciously kept me this day; and I pray that You would forgive me all my sins where I have done wrong, and graciously keep me this night. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen.”
Upon completion Dr. Luther closes with this advice: Then go to sleep at once and in good cheer.
(How the head of the family should teach his household to ask a blessing and return thanks.)
Asking a Blessing
The children and members of the household shall go to the table reverently, fold their hands, and say: The eyes of all look to You, [O LORD,] and You give them their food at the proper time. You open Your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. (Ps. 145: 15–16)
Then shall be said the Lord’s Prayer and the following:
Lord God, heavenly Father, bless us and these Your gifts which we receive from Your bountiful goodness, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Also, after eating, they shall, in like manner, reverently and with folded hands say: Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good. His love endures forever. [He] gives food to every creature. He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call. His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor His delight in the legs of a man; the LORD delights in those who fear Him, who put their hope in His unfailing love. (Ps. 136:1, 25; 147:9–11)
Then shall be said the Lord’s Prayer and the following: We thank You, Lord God, heavenly Father, for all Your benefits, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit forever and ever. Amen.
Such prayer is the daily breath, and high privilege of all the baptized. In prayer we commune with God himself and there is nothing better than that for life and salvation come what may.
One reminder is in order before we close. Please do not think of private prayer as a substitute for the church’s corporate prayer, but rather as an extension and derivative of it because Jesus says, “My house shall be called the house of prayer for all nations.” (Mark 11:17) And so come to God’s house where you will learn to pray aright. And where you will “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18)
Peace be with you. Amen.