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Preaching and Prayer

September 24, 2019
By Martin Luther

And he journeyed on . . . to the place where he had made an altar at the first; and there Abram preached the name of the Lord.

GENESIS 13:3-4 (according to Luther's translation)

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Preaching and Prayer

In the Hebrew there is a clear difference between these two: to call on the name of the Lord and to call in the name of the Lord. The first is used for what we express by "to seek something from God," to ask of God through prayer, etc. But in its strict sense to call in the name of the Lord is to preach, teach, read, and whatever else there is that pertains to the ministry of teaching. . .. If someone should maintain that they mean the same thing, I shall not quarrel with him; for by their nature preaching and prayer are connected with each other. It is impossible to pray unless one has first instructed the people concerning God. In fact, you will never pray successfully in private unless you have preached to yourself either the Creed or some other passage of Scripture that draws your attention to the goodness of God as the one who has not only commanded you to pray but has also added the promise that He will hear you. Through this private sermon, which you direct to yourself, your heart is impelled to pray. The same thing takes place publicly in our churches. We have no silent forms of worship, but the voice of the Gospel is always heard. Through it men are taught about the will of God. And to the sermons we add prayers or thanksgivings.

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