Four questions to ask about prayer

Last night was our corporate church prayer meeting. Our usual format is to have a short time in the word and using that time as a prompt to our prayers. Having been helped by Tim Keller’s book on prayer in which he notes Martin Luther’s method of meditating upon the word to prompt his prayers, we decided to take Luther’s lead.

Luther asks four key questions of any given text:

  1. What does the text demand of me?
  2. How does this text lead me to praise or thank God?
  3. How does this truth lead me to confess and repent?
  4. How does this truth prompt me to appeal to God?
Given our limited time in the text, we decided to apply this fourfold method to the passage we most recently heard preached: Daniel 4 (you can listen to that here).

Using Luther’s method, we had a excellent opening time of prayer. We knew what the text demanded of us because we had heard it preached days before (q1 amounted to a brief sermon recap). The rest of time helped us apply that truth in a number of different ways and led to a helpful time of praise, confession and supplication.

It’s well worth using as a method in your own quiet times and personal prayers.