Theological Fragments: Luther on repetitive prayers

‘…Honoured sir, I ask you to discontinue those Masses and vigils and daily prayers for her soul. It is enough to pray God once or twice for her, because he has said to us, ‘Whatsoever ye shall ask, if ye believe, ye shall receive.’ If we keep on praying for the same thing, it is a sign that we do not believe, and we only annoy him with our unbelieving prayers. For what does it mean if I repeatedly pray for the same thing except that my earlier prayers were not answered and that I have prayed contrary to his will? It is true that we ought to pray at all times, but we should do so in faith, certain that we are heard, otherwise the prayer is in vain. And we are never at a loss for something new to pray for.’

–Luther: Letters of Spiritual Counsel, ed. by Theodore G Tappert (Regent College Publishing: Vancouver, BC; 1960)

Theological Fragments: Forgive us our debts

“Here again there is great need to call upon God and pray: ‘Dear Father, forgive us our debts.’ Not that he does not forgive sins even apart from and before our praying; for before we prayed for it or even thought about it, he gave us the gospel, in which there is nothing but forgiveness. But the point here is for us to recognize and accept this forgiveness. For the flesh in which we daily live is of such a nature that it does not trust and believe God and is constantly aroused by evil desires and devices, so that we sin daily in word and deed, in acts of commission and omission. Thus our conscience becomes restless; it fears God’s wrath and displeasure, and so it loses the comfort and confidence of the gospel. Therefore it is necessary constantly to run to this petition and get the comfort that will restore our conscience.”

–Martin Luther, Large Catechism, Third Part: Fifth Petition.88-89, (Kolb/Wengert edition)