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A Prayer That Never Ceases

July 11, 2018
By Martin Luther

Behold, You delight in truth in the inward being, and You teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

 PSALM 51:6

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A Prayer That Never Ceases

The more a godly man feels his weakness, the more earnest he is in prayer. With this wisdom there simultaneously begins continuous prayer. Because the feeling of sin does not cease, sighing and prayer do not cease, asking that this wisdom may be made perfect. . . . The godly always talk as though they were sinners, as indeed they are; but because they are in the truth, they are loved by God and are in grace. This feeling of grace is weaker on account of the flesh. Therefore though they have the forgiveness of sins, they still pray and sigh for the forgiveness of sins. On the other hand, smug sinners say, "I thank Thee that I am not like other men," as that man in Luke (18:11) did. This is the reason why the godly man asks for grace, a man who is just beginning to be godly and has had a taste of this teaching. This taste provokes a greater thirst. The mind is not satisfied with the firstfruits of the Spirit (Romans 8:23), but would rather have the fullness, as Paul says: "Not as though I had already attained or were already perfect; but I follow after so that I may apprehend just as I also am apprehended" (Philippians 3:12). David acts the same way here; as though he were saying: "I know that Thou lovest that truth which Thou hast begun in me. Only make me to grasp it more certainly, and not doubt."

Form Commentary on Psalm 51 (Luther's Works 12:358-59)

July 11