Category Archives: Praying the Catechism

Catechism: Handbook for Persecution

In the Facebook group Didache, Dr. Pless has uploaded a powerful article.

“Luther’s Small Catechism is a multipurposed tool. Not only is it a brief summary of Christian doctrine and a guide to the Christian’s life of prayer and vocation in the world, it is also a book of comfort. It anchors hearts and minds where true joy is located: in the promises of God made certain in Christ Jesus. As we learn and pray the catechism, God is preparing us for trials and afflictions that well may await us in this life as we move toward death.”

John T. Pless, The Catechism: A Handbook for Times of Persecution, The Lutheran Witness, May 2017, pp. 6-7.

Preorder Praying Luther’s Small Catechism by John T. Pless

Now we can preorder Praying Luther’s Small Catechism by Rev. Dr. John T. Pless. The order page is here.

To pray the Catechism is to learn how to speak to God the Father in the name of the Son through the Holy Spirit. Praying Luther’s Small Catechism moves sequentially through the Six Chief Parts of Christian Doctrine with prayers developed out of the catechetical material.

Commentaries on the doctrine of each passage reflect on how the teaching shapes our praying. Accessible to the beginner but insightful for the wisest, this is a wonderful resource for pastors and veterans of the Church, and for laypeople who serve as the heads (and catechetical teachers) of their households.

Guest Post – Bob Myers Intro to Video, Nestingen on “The Catechism as handbook for the Christian’s worship, prayer, and calling”

Editor’s Note:

When I saw Bob Myers sharing this video on Facebook, I wanted to provide an introduction and promo for it here but did not have the time. Bob graciously agreed to do this for me, and Got ‘Er Done  the same day. Thanks Bob!

Bob is retired from the U. S. Navy and the U. S. Navy Blue Angels. He describes himself on Facebook as a “Son, husband, father, grandfather, brother, beggar at the Lord’s table.” When my wife and I were heading to vacation at Navarre Beach this past March, he hospitably invited us to his church, Immanuel Lutheran Church in Pensacola, Florida. We were blessed by two services there during the week, and Bob presented me with a set of his Small Catechism memory cards and Yshnog. Bob is alway doing stuff to spread and strengthen the faith.

Here’s Bob’s intro and promo …

Luther’s Small Catechism is a confession of faith that I have come to love in the years since becoming a Lutheran as an adult.

These basics of Christian doctrine, what some have called “the Layman’s Bible,” teach us in a condensed version what we are to do and what we are not to do in the first chief part, and then in the subsequent parts are shown who God is and what God has done for us.

God’s gift of the internet gives the modern parent or grandparent precious resources for our use in teaching the faith. We can search for papers and articles, videos and presentations that help us “hand over the goods.” I’ve been able to use a series from the Higher Things organization called “Video Catechism” to prepare lessons and to teach 6th-8th grade students the basics of the faith.

While searching YouTube for resources and presentations I came across this gem posted by Lutherske Fordypningsdager. My computer translates Lutherske Fordypningsdager as “Lutheran Specialization Days.” It is an annual forum in Norway to promote the central and life-giving truths of the classical Lutheran confession of faith. Their focus is on the proclamation of the Word of God in law and gospel. They have attendees from a variety of denominations and confessions of faith. This lecture was from the 2015 forum.

The video, “The Catechism as handbook for the Christian’s worship, prayer, and calling” by Dr. James A. Nestingen, takes a look inside the first three parts of the catechism. He reminds us that we are creatures of God, and who we are as creatures of God, and who we are in Christ Jesus. To watch and listen to Dr. Nestingen is to witness a man clearly and lovingly confess the faith. His skillful weaving of story into what he teaches helps the listener remember what he has been taught. It also models for us what it looks like, what it sounds like, to teach the faith. Built on the framework that is the confession that we learn by heart, we’re given examples to help us pass on that faith.

God’s Word Belongs in the Home Where We Live — A pastoral letter of Pastor Rolf Preus

Editor’s Note:

You can download a PDF flyer version of this pastoral letter here.

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God’s Word Belongs in the Home Where We Live
A pastoral letter of Pastor Rolf Preus – March 2016

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

As we ponder Christ’s passion during this holy season, it is good for us to consider our life of worship. God gives and we receive.  Then we give and God receives.  First God gives. Only after we have received from God the forgiveness of our sins may we give him anything at all.  First God makes us his dear children by washing us in the blood of the Lamb.  Then we can come to him as dear children come to their dear Father.

We go to church.  That’s a given.  That’s where God gives us his gospel and sacraments.  That’s where we give him our praise and thanksgiving. But is it only at the formal services with our congregation held in a church building on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings that this takes place? By no means! God’s Word belongs in the home where we live.  If the pure Word of God is what makes our congregation a Christian church, the pure Word of God will make our home a Christian home.

The Christian father is the pastor of his family. After giving Moses his Law, God said to him and through him to all Israel:  “These words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children.” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7) The Bible says nothing about Sunday schools, Christian Day schools, vacation Bible schools, or any other kind of school established for religious instruction of the young. The Bible talks about families headed by fathers. St. Paul writes, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4) Fathers should lead their families in daily worship. If the father is unable to do so or if there is no father, then the mother should do it.

What am I talking about? What is family worship? It is an abbreviated form of the public service of the congregation. It includes reading from the Bible, saying the liturgy, singing hymns, and praying prayers.

With older families or couples whose children are grown and gone from the home, the reading from the Bible can be directly from the Holy Scriptures. The New King James is a good translation that I recommend. For families with younger children, there are some good Bible story books for children available from Concordia Publishing House. I particularly recommend, A Child’s Garden of Bible Stories. It is very good.

We recite from memory the liturgy at church. I would guess that most of us know by heart the words of the Gloria in Excelsis, the Sanctus, the Agnus Dei, both the Apostle’s and the Nicene creeds, and the Lord’s Prayer. For family devotions, I recommend saying at each devotion the Ten Commandments (without their meanings), the Apostles’ Creed, and the Lord’s Prayer. These are a solid foundation for our lives as Christians.

Good, doctrinally sound, Christ-centered hymns are a wonderful feature of family devotions. I was blessed with a father who loved the good Lutheran hymns and taught them to his family around the dinner table. I grew up knowing the best hymns in the hymnal – the great hymns of such authors as Martin Luther, Paul Gerhardt, Thomas Kingo, etc. If you have a hard time deciding what hymns to sing, singing the hymn of the day from the previous Sunday service might be a good idea. I have several copies of various Lutheran hymnals in my house. If you don’t, I would recommend buying a few copies (depending on the size of your family) of the hymnal we are currently using: Lutheran Service Book. It is available from Concordia Publishing House.

We gather to pray. The greatest of prayers is the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus taught it to us and we pray it every time we gather for worship in his name.  here are other fine prayers in the Catechism, such as Luther’s morning and evening prayers.

There are also a number of good devotional books available. Trinity has an excellent library – the best I have seen at any congregation I have served. There are some fine books you can borrow, and decide if you would like to buy for yourselves.

Home devotions don’t last more than ten minutes, unless you get into a theological conversation at the end and keep visiting around the table. I recommend having devotions after supper. If the phone rings during devotions, you either ignore it or answer it by saying, “We’re having devotions now. Would you call back in ten minutes?” Here is a sample form for you to consider for your family worship:

  • Invocation: “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen”
  • Recitation of the Ten Commandments
  • Recitation of the Creed
  • Reading from the Bible/Bible story book
  • Singing of hymn
  • Closing with Lord’s Prayer

My dad died twenty years ago this past November. I thank God for a faithful Christian father who led the family devotions throughout my childhood. Bring God’s Word into your homes.  Place the hearing, learning, confessing, and singing of God’s Word above every other pursuit in life. Do it! You won’t regret it. If you have any practical (or impractical!) questions about home devotions, give me a call and bend my ear.  I’ll do what I can to help.

Your brother in Christ,
Pastor Preus

Video — The Lord’s Prayer played and sung by composer & cantor Phillip Magness

The Lord’s Prayer

Setting by Phillip Magness

Played and sung by Phillip Magness for the Wednesday Catechetical Service, Immanuel Lutheran Church, Broken Arrow, OK, September 24, 2014

From the Sing the Faith Songbook (Catechism Songs), Concordia Publishing House

 

Catechism Prayer Page — Brilliant, Simple, Fatherly. From Member Erich Heidenreich

After Morning Prayer with Marilyn and three of our grandchildren, Signe, Brynja, and Garrick (Gunny), this morning, I came to our Facebook group, and waiting for us all was this dear gift from one of our members, Erich Heidenreich.

Erich gave permission to post it here on the website blog. We present here:

Later on we will get it onto the Reading Plans page as well so that you can find it anytime you want it. He posted:

In accordance with Luther’s instructions for praying the Catechism’s primary texts morning and evening, I have the following printed on single sheets of paper for bedside and table use in our home. I know you all know these texts, but I thought I’d provide the simple texts below to make it easy to copy and paste them into a document of your own to print for your family’s personal use too. [smile emoticon ]You may wish to switch it to whichever translation you are familiar with. This is the 1991 translation with minor modification.

We also recite one or more of the meanings each week from another sheet I print on the back, updated every few weeks with more meanings, which allows us to get through the entire catechism sequentially at least yearly.

Here is some of his explanation.

These primary texts provide law and gospel in such a simple and trustworthy manner. I pray in this manner every morning and night from memory (and during the day when I have time) and it takes as little as 90 seconds. Of course we can and should do more, but we don’t always succeed. This is the bare minimum of prayer and devotion that I teach my family to never fail to do every day of their life. I pray they pass on this habitus to their children and grandchildren. It should be as much a habit as brushing our teeth, yet it is infinitely more important, and so it should start from infancy. Of course it takes longer than 90 seconds if you pause to ponder each line, and when I have extra prayers I pray them between the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer, always ending with the comfort of Luther’s morning or evening prayer, commending all things into God’s loving hands.

At the present time we also are using Gerhard’s Meditations on Divine Mercy along with Stark’s Prayer Book for family devotions.

He also quoted a portion of the Introduction to Luther’s Large Catechism that gives further incitement to this practice. You can read that in the group or online at BookofConcord.org here.

Here is his text to make it convenient for you to copy, paste, and adapt should you wish to do that.

Make the sign of the cross in the Name of the Father, Son †, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

1 You shall have no other gods.

2 You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.

3 Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.

4 Honor your father and your mother, that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.

5 You shall not murder.

6 You shall not commit adultery.

7 You shall not steal.

8 You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

9 You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.

10 You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, maidservant, ox, or donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s. Amen.

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into Hell. The third day He arose again from the dead. He ascended into Heaven and sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty. From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead. And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen

Morning:

I thank You, my Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have kept me this night from all harm and danger; and I pray that you would keep me this day also from sin and every evil, that all my doings and life may please You. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your Holy Angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen.

Evening:

I thank You, my Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have graciously kept me this day, and I pray that You would forgive me all my sins where I have done wrong, and graciously keep me this night. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your Holy Angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen.