Among Protestant churches, the Lutheran tradition has the richest heritage of music for worship. It is based on the assumption that music is a profound means by which we enter God’s presence and render our liturgy of thanksgiving to God. Bringing together insights first developed by Martin Luther and practices that have grown out of almost 500 years of Lutheran worship, this article describes why and how music is used in Lutheran worship.
Recently I came across this quote from Martin Luther (1483-1586): “If you perhaps look for praise and would sulk or quit what you are doing if you did not get it — if you are of that stripe, dear friend — then take yourself by the ears, and if you do this in the right way, you will find a beautiful pair of big, long, shaggy donkey ears!”
Martin Luther’s life was dramatically changed as he meditated on Romans 1:17: “For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: `The righteous will live by faith.’”
I think most of us wonder from time to time if our lives have or are truly making a positive difference within the limited sphere of our influence. Having been involved in quite a variety of Christian ministries since 1975 (not to mention earlier attempts to impact fellow military comrades for Christ), I ponder this one often! For those of us who take our faith seriously, nothing is more important than leaving behind a legacy of effectiveness for the Kingdom of God.
“Sola fide” is therefore the best news man could ever hear. JESUS DID THE WORK FOR US! His righteousness is permanently imputed to us the moment we receive Him as Lord and Savior (see II Corinthians 5:21)! When God the Father looks at a believer, that’s what He sees: CHRIST’S righteousness, not our wretched sinfulness! No wonder Satan has opposed and perverted this fantastic truth so vigorously all these millennia!
The benefits, the possibilities and the necessity of prayer are not merely subjective but are peculiarly objective in their character. Prayer aims at a definite object. Prayer has a direct design in view. Prayer always has something specific before the mind’s eye. There may be some subjective benefits which accrue from praying, but this is altogether secondary and incidental. Prayer always drives directly at an object and seeks to secure a desired end. Prayer is asking, seeking and knocking at a door for something we have not, which we desire, and which God has promised to us. (Adapted from E.M. Bounds, The Necessity of Prayer)
Those who let God be Father always and in everything, who live their whole lives in the Father’s presence and love, who allow God in all the greatness of His love to be a Father to them, they will experience most gloriously that a life in God’s infinite Fatherliness and continual answers to prayer are inseparable. (Adapted from Andrew Murray, With Christ in the School of Prayer)
How vast are the possibilities of prayer! How wide is its reach! What great things are accomplished by this divinely appointed means of grace! It lays its hand on Almighty God and moves Him to do what He would not otherwise do if prayer was not offered. It brings things to pass which would never otherwise occur. The story of prayer is the story of great achievements. Prayer is a wonderful power placed by Almighty God in the hands of His saints, which may be used to accomplish great purposes and to achieve unusual results. (Adapted from E.M. Bounds, The Necessity of Prayer)
Many scholars view this verse as the first in Scripture to mention prayer. More accurately it is the first example of people collectively worshiping their Creator. At this early stage in human history, men and women were already divided according to their faithfulness to God. Nothing has changed in the ensuing millennia – offering up daily prayers is a witness and demonstration of devotion to the Lord.
Calvin’s influence can be seen to this day in the various denominations that embrace his theology, including Presbyterian and Reformed churches.