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Three Conditions of Prayer

March 26, 2020
By Martin Luther

"I am not worthy of the least of all the deeds of steadfast love and all the faithfulness that You have shown to Your servant."

GENESIS 32:10

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Three Conditions of Prayer

One must not pray . . . like the Pharisee in the Gospel with his: "I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I get" (Luke 18:12) . . .. We should follow the example of Jacob, who says: "I am not worthy of all Your mercies. I am not worthy, no, not even of one act of mercy or truth which You have ever shown me, are even now showing me, or will show me hereafter without any merit on my part. For it is impossible that I should merit anything. Therefore I do not rely on my worthiness but on Your promises and mercies." This is a truthful heart and a true prayer. . .. Therefore, there are those three conditions of a good prayer, which make it very pleasing and a sweet-smelling odor before God which cannot fail to be heard. The first is that you should take hold of the promise. The second is that you should be mortified in your distress. The third is that you should give thanks and acknowledge that you are not worthy of one act of mercy but are seeking and hoping for help through mercy alone. . .. Our confidence should not rely on the Law and its works, although they should be present, but on the mercy and truth of God. Then prayer and groaning is a golden sacrifice.

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