Saturday, October 10, 2009

Oratio (Prayer)

Perhaps, reader, you've been considering the origin of title of this blog. It comes from Martin Luther's instruction: I want you to know how to study theology in the right way. I have practiced this method myself...The method of which I am speaking is the one which the holy king David teaches in Psalm 119. ...Here you will find three rules. They are frequently proposed throughout the Psalm and run thus: Oratio, meditatio, tentatio [prayer, meditation, trial] (from What Luther Says: An Anthology compiled by Ewald M. Plass).

Let's dig a bit deeper today and look specifically at what Luther says about prayer in this context: ...Kneel down in your little private room and with sincere humility and earnestness pray God through His dear Son, graciously to grant you His Holy Spirit to enlighten and guide you and give you understanding.

Psalm 119:18, 33-37
Open thou mine eyes,
that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.
Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes;
and I shall keep it unto the end.
Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law;
yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.
Make me to go in the path of thy commandments;
for therein do I delight.
Incline my heart unto thy testimonies,
and not to covetousness.
Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity;
and quicken thou me in thy way.
Stablish thy word unto thy servant,
who is devoted to thy fear.
Turn away my reproach which I fear:
for thy judgments are good.
Behold, I have longed after thy precepts:
quicken me in thy righteousness.

....Although he knew the text of Moses well and that of the other books besides, and heard and read them daily. Yet he desires to have the real Master of Scripture in order by all means to make sure that he does not plunge into it with his reason and become his own master.

May we all do likewise.


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