Luther’s four strands of meditation

By Dave Henning / December 23, 2014

Timothy Keller concludes Chapter 6 of Prayer by expanding on Luther’s four strands of meditation on a text from Scripture: instruction, thanksgiving, confession, and prayer.

1.  Instruction.  We begin by discerning the instruction of a text.  Luther called this the “school text” part of meditation, where we interpret the biblical passage by distilling its essential content.  Once we understand what the verse is trying to teach us, we then summarize it and use that summary for the rest of our meditation.

2-4.  Thanksgiving, confession, and prayer.  Next we ask ourselves how this specific teaching leads us to praise and thank God, to repent of and confess our sin, and to appeal to God in petition and supplication.  These three strands are the application of instruction, the first strand.

Pastor Keller states that Luther’s four strands of meditation enable us to “generate a small but rich spectrum of insight that can immediately be lifted to God as prayer.”  Luther’s discipline of meditation creates its own energy as it proceeds, ingeniously forcing us off the theoretical plane onto the practical.

Over time this meditative practice often will spontaneously exert itself during the day, as we respond to things that we hear, see, and read.  Meditation helps us to develop the habit of putting God into every picture.

Today’s question: How has meditating on Scripture strengthened you during your desert, transformational journey?

Tomorrow’s blog: “The Lord’s Prayer- making it personal”

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Dave Henning

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