October 09, 2021

Melanchthon's Prayers on Luke

“As that feeble creature Lazarus, molested with ulcers & sores in every part of his body, and as his shrinking members perished with consuming famine, when he lay before the gates of that rich man, being despised of all men there, and having not any one that relieved and helped him. In such case do I presently lie, but yet as he being despised of all men, was through your favor received into Abraham’s bosom, so in like manner I beseech you, eternal God, let your clemency preserve and keep me, and let the shadow of your right hand protect and defend me silly wretch.”

Today we’ve highlighted 2 prayers from Philip Melanchthon inspired by Luke 16 (above) and 17 (below).

But briefly, we should probably address the question “Who is Philip Melanchthon?”. He was a German theologian who worked alongside his more famous counterpart Martin Luther, and was instrumental in helping to form what eventually became Lutheranism. In the same year that Luther made his famous stand at the Diet of Worms, Melanchthon published a series of writings the Loci Communes, which was akin to a systematic expression of Lutheranism and distinctives of the Reformation. Melanchthon was also instrumental in helping the German princes to understand the Augsburg Confession, when Luther himself could not physically attend.

One thing to note is that unlike Luther who was famous for his fiery personality & temper, Melanchthon was much more reserved and valued maintaining peace where possible. This can be clearly seen in Luther’s preface to Melanchthon’s Commentary on the Galatians “I had to fight with rabble and devils for which reason my books are very warlike. I am the rough pioneer who must break the road. But master Philip comes along softly and gently sows and waters heartily since God has richly endowed him with gifts”. Some have criticized this and point to this being due to Melanchthon’s lack of courage & conviction, while others pointed to his humility & modesty in his own personal piety. Whatever the case may be, we hope that these prayers from Melanchthon will encourage you to learn more about the men who have helped shape our theology (for full disclosure we don’t necessarily agree with everything that our Lutheran brothers & sisters believe!) and help you reflect on God’s goodness & mercy when we are feeling weary and seek comfort from Him.

“O Son of God, we believe these things touching you, according as you command us to believe, but yet notwithstanding, this is a very small spark of faith. We therefore humbly ask you, grant that by your help the same may become stronger and greater, and as the shining sun spreads the beams of his light over the face of the earth, so do you, the Son of righteousness, guide us with your light."