How to Improve Your Prayer and Devotional Life
I know, it is not yet the end of the year, but…did you know there was a tradition in Germany that the new year started on Christmas? This explains why often when reading Luther’s sermons, or singing Lutheran hymns, there are wishes for a “glad new year to all the earth.” I think there is something rather nice about thinking of a new year beginning with the celebration of the nativity of our Lord. But, be that as it may, many of us make resolutions for a new year and I think, if you are like me, you probably put toward the top of your resolution list to have a richer, more faithful life of prayer and meditation of God’s Word in the new year. I’d like to suggest to you a number of resources from Concordia Publishing House that I trust you will find helpful for your prayer life.
The Treasury of Daily Prayer
I think it is, by far, the most complete, single-volume resource for a daily devotional life that is ordered by readings from Scripture and prayers from the Church’s historic prayer services. You can use as little of it, or as much of it, as you would like. You can have it in the form of a book, or as an iPhone App, or in Kindle or ePub format. Cultivate an enriching devotional life with a book that nourishes your time with God. This comprehensive Lutheran resource brings together Scripture readings, prayers, psalms, hymns, and devotional readings from the church fathers to guide daily prayer and meditation on God’s Word. Organized around the Christian Church Year, Treasury of Daily Prayer is designed to be an all-in-one resource for daily devotions for individuals, families, and small groups. View the “How to Use” helpful download below for a complete overview.
There are a variety of other books we offer that I think you will enjoy as well. You can use them separately, or as part of your daily habit with the Treasury. Let me show you some of them.
The Great Works of God by Valerius Herberger, translated by Matthew Carver, Volumes I and II.
These books are masterpieces of Christ centered meditation on God’s Word. Using the Book of Genesis, Pastor Herberger, offers rich reflection on how the events and people in Genesis remind us of Christ and His work for us, and our lives as His people. Herberger (1562-1627), a Lutheran pastor in Fraustadt (now Wschowa), Poland, at the turn of the seventeenth century, preached through the books of the Old Testament from Genesis through Ruth, producing devout meditations on the Scriptures. “These he regarded rather like the linen cloths that wrapped the infant Jesus in the manger, and traced his Lord in every little wrinkle” (from the translator’s preface). Pastor Valerius Herberger (1562-1627) served St. Mary’s parish church in Fraustadt (now Wschowa) Poland during the most difficult days of the Counter-Reformation when a royal decree ousted the congregation from its building in 1604. As a deacon and preacher in the congregation for nearly forty years, Herberger left us a remarkable example of biblical interpretation, application, and sincere devotion. Matthew Carver, MFA is a translator of German and classical literature. He resides in Nashville, TN, with his wife Amanda, where they pursue interests in art, orthodox Lutheran theology, liturgy, and hymnody. They welcomed their first child in October 2010. You can take a look inside here. And you can buy it here.
A Year in the New Testament: Meditations for Each Day of the Church Year
A Year with the Church Fathers: Meditations for Each Day of the Church Year by Rev. Scott Murray
Reading the Psalms with Martin Luther
This is an English translation of Luther’s Summaries of the Psalms, 1531 which was originally done in 1993. This latest edition includes the ESV translation of the Psalms, Luther’s introductions to each of the 150 psalms and a suggested schedule for reading the Psalter. The introductions demonstrate how Luther understood the Psalter as a Christ-centered book and how he used the psalms as the model for Christian prayer. Luther classifies each psalm as a psalm of prophecy, instruction, comfort, prayer, or thanksgiving and applies the message of the text to the life lived out under the cross. Luther also connects the psalms to the Ten Commandments and the petitions of the Lord’s Prayer. For Luther, all aspects of the Christian’s life, including the Psalms, relate to Christ and His Gospel of forgiveness, life, and salvation. Buy a copy here.
Starck’s Prayer Book, edited by Rev. William Weedon
Since 1921, the Concordia Edition of Johann Starck’s Prayer Book has encouraged thousands of Christians in their personal prayer life. This updated edition provides a comprehensive collection of prayers and meditations that speak to contemporary Christians while preserving the richness and depth of expression of the original. Starck’s prayers do what all genuine prayers do: they draw the believer into the internal life of the Blessed Trinity and teach the joy of living in His presence throughout the day, throughout the week, throughout the year, throughout the good times and the bad. This book is offered to Christians of the twenty-first century in slightly updated garb, who live in a world very different from that inhabited by a Lutheran clergyman of the seventeenth century, in the hope that those who use it will discover, in the vibrant faith that rings through and shapes these prayers from another era, the voice of the faith once delivered to the saints. Take a look inside here, and buy a copy here.
God Grant It: Daily Devotions from Dr. C.F.W. Walther
This is a stunning compilation of Dr. Walther’s Gospel sermons, each Sunday’s sermon is spread out of a week of readings. This is a translation of the collection of lectionary-based devotions for the entire church taken from Walther’s sermons and published by CPH in 1894. The translation aims to retain particular relevance for modern readers. Beginning with the first week of Advent,God Grant It provides a daily devotion for each day in the year, placing particular significance on the church year. Through these classic sermons of Walther, the modern reader will be reminded that God’s mercies are new every day, that His mercies are ours by the work of our Lord Jesus Christ. Translated into modern English, these readings are intended to encourage the laity, as well as pastors, and affirm them in their daily lives as redeemed children of God. Each devotion is accompanied by a Scripture reference and a hymn verse. The daily devotion will take less than ten minutes to read. Take a look inside here. Buy a copy here.
To Live with Christ: Daily Devotions by Bo Giertz
The devotional writings of noted Swedish pastor, bishop, and author Bo Giertz offer what foreword writer John Pless calls “sturdy confessional Lutheranism with warm piety born of confidence in the Gospel.” To Live With Christ translates a collection of Giertz’s classic devotions for those who want to explore their Christian faith and to connect God’s Word in their daily lives. The devotional readings embrace the church-year calendar, just as Giertz did, preparing you for Sunday worship service. Each Christ-centered devotion includes a Bible reading, meditation, and a prayer. The collection points readers to the cross of Christ, offering the assurance of God’s grace, love, and forgiveness, helping them draw closer to their Lord. Take a look inside here, and buy a copy here.
Meditations on the Gospels
First published in 1948 as The Devotional Bible these devotions, based on writings of the apostles in the first four books of the New Testament, cover a variety of themes of interest to those who want to explore their Christian faith and the connection between the Word of God and their daily lives These timeless devotions will strengthen, comfort, and inform the reader. This edition is updated to include Scripture passages from ESV, and begins with a Gospel reading as the starting point for the day, concluding with a prayer. Take a look inside here, and buy a copy here.