It doesn’t take people long to discover that I have a special fondness for the 16th century Protestant Reformer, Martin Luther. A week rarely goes by without one of his many volumes (as Victor Shepherd notes, he wrote something substantial every two weeks for twenty years) finding its way to my desk. Luther encourages my soul in God as few others do.
And one of the ways he does this is by his transparent humanity. Luther understands what it means to grapple with our fallen nature. Even though this towering Pastor-Theologian laboured for the Gospel with uncommon zeal, he discovered that his heart could grow quickly cold in matters of faith.
When this happened, and it did routinely, Luther had an antidote always at hand: the Psalms. “When I feel that I have become cool and joyless in prayer,” he writes, “I take my little psalter.” And with those Psalms in hand, Luther would hurry to a quiet room, or to the Church, and he would pray the ancient prayers of the people of God.
Far too often the Psalms don’t find their way into our daily devotional life. Let me encourage you by way of Martin Luther: the Psalms are there for you to pray. They teach you how to pray. They teach you how to repent. They teach you how to yearn for God.
In Psalm 92 we read that God’s plan for His people is that they grow and thrive like the palm tree, planted in God’s house, flourishing in His courts: always full of sap and green. Yet as Luther experienced so regularly, we often feel withered and dry with little relish for spiritual things. Let the Psalms lift you higher. They are an oasis for your thirsty soul. You don’t need to do it on your own; you were never meant to do it on your own. God has given you a precious volume of prayers to add to your own, to shape your own, to ignite your own.
Listen to your brother in the faith, Martin Luther. Follow him as he follows the Lord. Pray daily with the Psalmists, and so pray daily in the Spirit. As you do, these holy prayers will become second nature to you, and as God answers you, as He has promised to do, He will lead you increasingly into the place of abundance.
“I cry to you, O Lord, You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living….Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul….Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!….In your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble, for I am your servant….I am Yours, save me….Rescue me and deliver me from many waters….Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name!”
For Christ and His Kingdom,