A person praying with their Bible

If your barber asked you for advice on prayer, what would you say?

Martin Luther’s barber asked him for advice on prayer. His answer might surprise you.

Luther’s barber

Luther’s barber, Pieter Beskendorf, became drunk at his daughter’s house on March 27, 1535, the day before Easter.

His son-in-law, a soldier, bragged about how he could not be wounded by a sword. The drunken Pieter stabbed him with a sword in the chest and killed him.

Instead of a death sentence, the barber was banished from Wittenberg to Dessau about 20 miles away.

From exile Pieter wrote Luther. He had lost his possessions and his citizenship. Because of what he had done, he was unsure if he was still a child of God.

Luther wrote to him about how to pray.

Luther’s prayers and the Bible

Luther began his response by saying that he hoped that others would pray better than he did. He did not see himself as the model for other Christians.

He then talked about how he prayed through the Lord’s Prayer. Giving examples of how each clause in the prayer organized his prayer.

He then prayed through the Ten Commandments. He showed how he wanted each command to be fulfilled in his life and in the world.

Luther’s prayers and the Creed

Luther finished his letter by showing how he prayed through the Apostles Creed. He prayed through the key beliefs shared by of all Christians

How we pray says a lot about us? When we let Scripture direct our prayers we gain power and focus.

How to get a copy of the letter

Martin’s letter to his barber is about 40 pages in print and was published as a booklet later in 1535. It was translated into English in 1983 and issued in a small book on the 500th anniversary of the 95 theses in 2017.

Walter Trobisch, a missionary and author, wrote a partial translation with comments in 1975. It is out of print but is available without cost on the internet.

Questions for consideration:

If a close friend asked you for advice on prayer, what would you say?

How does you Bible reading affect your prayers?

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