Focused Prayer

In reading various places for last Sunday's sermon, I came across a piece about Martin Luther.   I had not read this before and was a bit surprised by it.   I have not studied Luther very much.   I know he was one of the great “fathers” of the church and extremely important part of the Protestant Reformation.

My image of him and many of those men, is of an older man, stern, professor like, intelligent, deeply spiritual and rarely smiling.    So the following short bit, challenges some of that.

Here is the quote in full, found in Martin Luther's Table Talk no. 274, the entry dating from May 18, 1532:

     When Luther's puppy happened to be at the table, looked for a morsel from his master, and watched with open mouth and motionless eyes, he [Martin Luther] said, "Oh, if I could only pray the way this dog watches the meat! All his thoughts are concentrated on the piece of meat. Otherwise he has no thought, wish, or hope."


Martin Luther had a dog?   A puppy?    Wow, that image makes him seem like a regular guy.    Images of a man with a puppy soften the view.   That his dog would come and beg at the table, well, I can relate to that story.   Many can.   I have a dog that can be asleep upstairs, but when food is placed on the table, she manages to show up with that pathetic face as if she is never fed.  Please.

If you know that look, you also know what inspires Luther to compare it to his own prayer life.  The dog’s focus is totally on that piece of meat.  There are no distractions or other thoughts.

Imagine if our time at prayer was like that.   Focused on God, not distracted by our phones or other devices.   No thoughts about what we will do later, but concentrated on speaking and listening to God.    Not wishing for something, but praying.

Luther, a great man of faith, desires to pray that way.    May it be our desire as well.

Have a great day.