Praying the Creed
NCF is going through the Apostles' Creed at our midweek meetings. This past week, we spent time on the first article: "I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth..." I'm thankful for the opportunity to walk together through this historic Christian creed. I'm also impressed by how practical and helpful the Creed is to our Christian life—especially in prayer.
Martin Luther considered the Apostles' Creed to be one of three foundation blocks in a Christian's life, the other two being the Ten Commandments and the Lord's Prayer. These three—Creed, Decalogue, & Prayer—were what Luther himself used to guide and fuel his own prayers. And he counseled others to do the same. These three are the first three sections in his Shorter Catechism. They also provide the structure of Luther's very short book, A Simple Way to Pray.
Luther wrote A Simple Way to Pray for his barber, Peter Beskendorf. In it, he gives helpful principles and clear examples of how to pray using each of the three foundation blocks. Below is what Luther says about praying through the first article of the Creed. May it benefit your soul.
"I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth..."
"Here, first of all, a great light shines into your heart if you permit it to and teaches you in a few words what all the languages of the world and a multitude of books cannot describe or fathom in words, namely, who you are, whence you came, whence came heaven and earth. You are God's creation, his handiwork, his workmanship. That is, of yourself and in yourself you are nothing, can do nothing, know nothing, are capable of nothing. What were you a thousand ye
ars ago? What were heaven and earth six thousand years ago? Nothing, just as that which will never be created is nothing. But what you are, know, can do, and can achieve is God's creation, as you confess by word of mouth. Therefore, you have nothing to boast of before God except that you are nothing, and he is your Creator who can annihilate you at any moment. Reason knows nothing of such a light. Many great people have sought to know what heaven and earth, man and creatures are, and have found no answer. But here it is declared, and faith affirms that God has created everything out of nothing. Here is the soul's garden of pleasure, along whose paths we enjoy the works of God-but it would take too long to describe all that.
Furthermore, we should give thanks to God that in his kindness he has created us out of nothing and provides for our daily needs out of nothing-has made us to be such excellent beings with body and soul, intelligence, five senses, and has ordained us to be mast
ers of earth, of fish, bird, and beast, etc. Here consider Genesis, chapters one to three.
Third, we should confess and lament our lack of faith and gratitude in failing to take this to heart, or to believe, ponder, and acknowledge it, and having been more stupid than unthinking beasts.
Fourth, we pray for a true and confident faith that sincerely esteems and trusts God to be our Creator, as this article declares."