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“To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.”

~ Martin Luther

“To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.”

~ Martin Luther

Martin Luther by Cranach-restoration.tif

Martin Luther

“I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.”

“To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.”

~ Martin Luther

“To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.”

~ Martin Luther

Lucas Cranach d.Ä. - Martin Luther, 1528 (Veste Coburg) (cropped).jpg

BY MICHAEL GRYBOSKI , CHRISTIAN POST REPORTER
October 31, 2016|
16th-century Protestant reformer Martin Luther(PHOTO: REUTERS/FABRIZIO BENSCH)

Plastic statuettes of 16th-century Protestant reformer Martin Luther, which are part of the art installation‘Martin Luther – I’m standing here’ by German artist Ottmar Hoerl, are pictured in the main square in Wittenberg, eastern Germany, August 11, 2010. The installation of 800 one-metre high figurines, based on a statue of Martin Luther on the town square and intended to replace it while it is being renovated. Hoerl’s creation has created some controversy, with some Protestant theologians saying the statuettes, make a mockery of Luther’s achievements.

For most Americans, the last day of October is a time of trick-or-treating, costumes, candy, and various spooky things from horror movies to haunted houses.

Halloween, the holiday most known for its playful scaring and bags of sweets, is most closely associated by mainstream culture with Oct. 31.

However, for hundreds of churches across the United States and many others throughout global Protestantism, Oct. 31 is a time to remember the birth of the Reformation.

Known as Reformation Day, many churches hold special services either on the day itself or the nearest Sunday, which this year was Oct. 30.

Below in no particular order are five facts about the observance, history, and celebrations scheduled for next year, the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

Luther(PHOTO: REUTERS)

Statue of Martin Luther.

1. 95 Theses

Reformation Day marks the anniversary of when Augustinian monk Martin Luther nailed 95 theses, or questions and propositions for debate, to a church door in Wittenberg, located in modern day Germany.

Luther took issue with the Roman Catholic Church’s teaching that salvation came through faith and good works rather than faith alone.

Also a concern for him was the widespread practice of indulgences, in which people gave money to the Church in return for forgiveness of sins.

“The 95 Theses were quickly distributed throughout Germany and then made their way to Rome. In 1518, Luther was summoned to Augsburg, a city in southern Germany, to defend his opinions before an imperial diet (assembly),” noted History.

“A debate lasting three days between Luther and Cardinal Thomas Cajetan produced no agreement. Cajetan defended the Church’s use of indulgences, but Luther refused to recant and returned to Wittenberg.”

Soon enough, the movement spread throughout Europe, causing both violent upheaval, sweeping cultural change, and theological debates that continue to the present day.

Martin Luther(PHOTO: REUTERS/FABRIZIO BENSCH)

Plastic statuettes of 16th-century Protestant reformer Martin Luther, which are part of the art installation “Martin Luther – I’m standing here” by German artist Ottmar Hoerl, are pictured in the main square in Wittenberg, eastern Germany, August 11, 2010.

2. Varied dates

While Luther’s specific act that began the Reformation took place on Oct. 31, 1517, celebrations commemorating the action were not always performed and the dates do vary.
Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/reformation-day-5-facts-to-know-about-the-other-oct-31-holiday-171181/#fH0694gbht2QwBFU.99

 

Prayer_2Here are ten reminders for pastors about the vital need to cultivate their personal prayer life, as articulated by notable ministers from church history.

1. True effectiveness in ministry comes not through methods, but through prayer.

A. C. Dixon: When we rely upon organization, we get what organization can do; when we rely upon education, we get what education can do; when we rely upon eloquence, we get what eloquence can do, and so on. Nor am I disposed to undervalue any of these things in their proper place, but when we rely upon prayer, we get what God can do.

Source: A. C. Dixon. Cited from John Piper, Brothers We Are Not Professionals, 71.

D. L. Moody: Those who have left the deepest impression on this sin-cursed earth have been men and women of prayer.

Source: D. L. Moody, Great Preaching on Prayer, 8:119.

E. M. Bounds: What the Church needs today is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men and women whom the Holy Ghost can use — people of prayer, people mighty in prayer.

Source: E. M. Bounds, The Classic Collection on Prayer, 584.

* * * * *

2. A pastor’s prayer-life is indicative of the state of his walk with the Lord.

John Owen: A minister may fill his pews, his communion roll, the mouths of the public, but what that minister is on his knees in secret before God Almighty, that he is and no more.

Source: John Owen. Cited from I. D. E. Thomas, A Puritan Golden Treasury, 192.

Charles Spurgeon: I know of no better thermometer to your spiritual temperature than this, the measure of the intensity of your prayer.

Source: Charles Spurgeon, The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, 41:518.

* * * * *

3. Prayer is a vital means of sanctification.

J. C. Ryle: Prayer and sinning will never live together in the same heart. Prayer will consume sin, or sin will choke prayer.

Source: J. C. Ryle, Home Truths, 114.

John R. W. Stott: To pray is not only to be truly godly; it is also to be truly human. For here are human beings, made by God like God and for God, spending time in fellowship with God. So prayer is an authentic activity in itself, irrespective of any benefits it may bring us. Yet it is also one of the most effective of all means of grace. I doubt if anybody has ever become at all Christ-like who has not been diligent in prayer.

Source: John R. W. Stott, Christian Basics, 128.

* * * * *

4. Neglect in prayer leads to vulnerability in temptation.

J. C. Ryle: Bibles read without prayer; sermons heard without prayer; marriages contracted without prayer; journeys undertaken without prayer; residences chosen without prayer; friendships formed without prayer; the daily act of prayer itself hurried over, or gone through without heart: these are the kind of downward steps by which many a Christian descends to a condition of spiritual palsy, or reaches the point where God allows them to have a tremendous fall.

Source: J. C. Ryle, Practical Religion, 70–71.

John Owen: If we do not abide in prayer, we will abide in temptation. Let this be one aspect of our daily intercession: “God, preserve my soul, and keep my heart and all its ways so that I will not be entangled.” When this is true in our lives, a passing temptation will not overcome us. We will remain free while others lie in bondage.

Source: John Owen, Triumph Over Temptation, 165.

Charles Spurgeon (in a letter to his young son): One of my sweetest joys is to hear that a spirit of prayer is in your school, and that you participate in it. To know that you love the Lord and are mighty in prayer would be my crowning joy; the hope that you do so already is a happy one to me. I should like you to preach; but it is best that you pray; many a preacher has proved a castaway, but never one who has truly learned to pray.

Source: Charles Spurgeon. Cited from Charles Ray, The Life of Charles Haddon Spurgeon, 381.

* * * * *

5. Busyness is never a valid excuse for neglecting prayer.

Martin Luther: Work, work from early until late. In fact, I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.

 

“You must learn to call on the Lord. Don’t sit all alone or lie on the couch, shaking your head and letting your thoughts torture you. Don’t worry about how to get out of your situation or brood about your terrible life, how miserable you feel, and what a bad person you are. Instead, say, “Get a grip on yourself, you lazy bum! Fall on your knees, and raise your hands and eyes toward heaven. Read a psalm. Say the Lord’s Prayer, and tearfully tell God what you need.” 

~ Martin Luther, Faith Alone: A Daily Devotional

“To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.”

~ Martin Luther

Lucas Cranach d.Ä. - Martin Luther, 1528 (Veste Coburg).jpg

“Work, work, from morning until late at night. In fact, I have so much to do that I shall have to spend the first three hours in prayer!”

Martin Luther

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