By Martin Luther (1483-1546), adapted from Luther’s Prayers, translated by Charles Kistler (1917)
FOR GREATER FAITH (#138)
Behold, Lord, an empty vessel that needs to be filled. My Lord, fill it. I am weak in the faith; strengthen me. I am cold in love; warm me and make me fervent that my love may go out to my neighbor. I do not have a strong and firm faith; at times I doubt and am unable to trust you at all. O Lord, help me. Strengthen my faith and trust in you. In you I have sealed all the treasures I have. I am poor, you are rich and came to be merciful to the poor. I am a sinner, you are upright. With me there is an abundance of sin, in you is the fullness of righteousness. Therefore, I will remain with you from whom I can receive, but to whom I can not give. Amen.
FOR THE ABILITY TO FORGIVE (#173)
My Lord Jesus, look at how my neighbor has injured me, slandered my honor with his talk, and interfered with my rights. I cannot tolerate this, and so I wish he were out of my way. O God, hear my complaint. I cannot feel kindly toward him, even though I know I should. See how cold and insensible I am. O Lord, I can’t help it, and so I stand forsaken. If you change me, I will be devout and have better thoughts. Otherwise, I must remain as I am. O dear God, change me by your grace. Amen.
SERVING WITH HUMILITY (adapted from #201)
Dear Lord God, I thank you that you have directed me into this place of service in which I know I am able serve and please you. I will serve here willingly, gladly comply with the requirements, and abandon myself to doing what needs to be done. What harm is there if I am occasionally rebuked, when I am assured that this is an acceptable service to you? You suffered so much for me, should not I gladly do and suffer something to your honor and service? I would not rebel against being even a dog in your house, if only I may at least eat the crumbs that fall from your table. You owe me nothing at all. I depend on your grace and mercy. Amen.
OUR OFFERING TO GOD (#205)
O Lord, come to me and use my bread, silver, gold, and all that is mine. How well they are applied, if I spend them in your service. Amen.
FOR THE GRACE TO BE OBEDIENT (#168)
Lord God, I have indeed disobeyed your commandments. I have been impatient in suffering. I am unsympathetic and unmerciful. I fail to assist my neighbor as I ought. I am unable to resist sin. I do not tire of doing what is wrong. Dear Lord, pour out your grace to me so that I may obey you and keep each one of your commandments. Help me to give my heart and soul to you, even if that means I must be at odds with the world. Amen.
BEFORE RECEIVING HOLY COMMUNION (#157)
Lord Jesus, I have fallen, but I would rather be strong. For this purpose you have instituted this sacrament, that with it you may rekindle and strengthen my faith, and thus I may be helped. Therefore, I am here to receive it. My sins and faults are all known to you. But you have said in your Word: “Come unto me all that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give your rest.” I now come to be helped. Amen.
TO CHERISH GOD’S WORD (#167)
We pray that you so nurture us in your Word that our lives may please you and that other people may be attracted to you by our godliness. May your commands and promises be written into our hearts, and constantly kept in our minds. May your Word be for us far more precious than our own life and whatever else we cherish on earth. Help us to live and act accordingly. Amen.
Psalm 119:105 — Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
Romans 12:2 — Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is– his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Philippians 2:12-13 — Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed– not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence– continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.