408) Martin Luther’s Prayers for Pastors

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Martin Luther’s Pulpit in the Castle Church, Wittenberg, Germany

Luther’s tomb is at the base of the pulpit

O Lord, you see  how unworthy I am to fill so great and important an office.  Were it not for your counsel, I would have utterly failed in it long ago.  Therefore, I call upon you for guidance.  Gladly indeed will I give my heart and my voice to this service.  I want to teach the people.  I myself want constantly to seek and study your Word, and eagerly meditate upon it.  Use me as your instrument.  Only, dear Lord, do not forsake me; for if I am left alone, I will most certainly ruin everything.  Amen.


Dear Lord God, grant me your grace so that I may rightly understand your Word, and more importantly, also do it.  Blessed Lord Jesus Christ, if my quest after knowledge does not glorify you alone, let me not know a single letter.  Give me only so much as I, a poor sinner, need to know to proclaim and glorify you.  Amen.


Dear God, I have begun to preach and teach your people.  It is a difficult task.  If it offends here and there, may there be no harm done.  Since you have commanded me to preach your Word, I will not cease to do so.  If it fails, it fails for you.  If it succeeds, it succeeds for you.  Amen.


O most precious God and Father, you have given me many valuable gifts…  If it be your will, I would gladly use these gifts to serve your little flock.  Let your divine and fatherly will be done, that your name may be praised, whether I live or die.  Amen.

Lord, what you do not do remains undone.  If you will not help, I will gladly give it up.  The cause is not mine.  Therefore, I seek no glory in it.  I will cheerfully be your mask and disguise if only you will do the work.  Amen.

LUTHER’S PRAYER BEFORE FACING THE EMPEROR AND CHURCH AUTHORITIES TO DEFEND HIMSELF IN 1521:  …O my God, stand by me against the wisdom and reason of all the world.  You alone must do it.  This is indeed not my affair, but yours.  I myself want nothing to do with these great lords of the world.  I would rather have quiet and peaceful days and be left undisturbed, out of this turmoil…  But this is indeed a righteous cause…, and you have called me to this.  O God, stand by me in the name of your dear Son, Jesus Christ who shall be my protector and defender.  Come, come.  I am ready like a patient lamb to lay down my life for this cause.  The world cannot force me to act against my conscience…  So help me God.  Amen.


Ephesians 4:7…11-12  —  But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it…  It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.

I Corinthians 2:1-5  —  When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.  For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.  I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling.  My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.

I Peter 5:1-3  —  To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed:  Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers– not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 

Almighty and everlasting God, we pray first for the spiritual kingdom and the blessed Gospel ministry.  Give us devout and faithful preachers who will bring forth the treasure of your divine Word in its truth and purity.  Graciously guard us against heresies and divisions.  Look not upon our great ingratitude, for which we have long ago deserved that you should withdraw your Word from us.  Do not chastise us as severely as we deserve.  Let other calamities befall us, rather than deprive us of your precious Word.  Give to us thankful hearts that we may love your Word, prize it highly, hear it with reverence, and improve our lives accordingly.  May we not only understand your Word, but also meet its requirements by our deeds, live in accordance with it, and daily increase in faith and good works.  Amen.  –Martin Luther