One day, while Martin Luther was having his hair cut, his barber (Peter Beskendorf) confided in him that he was having trouble praying and asked him for advice. Luther went home and quickly penned the little booklet A Simple Way To Pray.

He encouraged his barber to pray the catechism. By that he meant, that his regular prayers should be guided by the Ten Commandments, the Apostles Creed, and the Lord’s Prayer.

Then he continued: “I take one part after another and free myself as much as possible from distractions in order to pray. I divide each commandment into four parts, thereby fashioning a garland of four strands.

That is, I think of each commandment as,

1. instruction, which is really what it is intended to be, and consider what the Lord God demands of me so earnestly.

2. I turn it into a thanksgiving;

3. a confession, and

4. a prayer.”

ITCP – Instruction, Thanksgiving, Confession, Prayer

For example, the First Commandment says, “You shall have no other gods.” What instruction comes from this commandment? It teaches us to fear, love, and trust in God above all things.

Instruction – Lord you ask me to fear, love and trust in you above everything else.

Thanksgiving – I thank you for being my God, for loving me, for sending your Son to rescue me, for forgiving me, for promising to care for me.

Confession – but, I often forget about what you have done for me and I frequently doubt your promises, especially when I am faced with challenges.

Prayer – so, lead me to love and trust you more each day. Amen.

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