Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bible at the Prayer Desk | Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Reading and Praying Scripture

Richard Johnson, editor of Forum Letter ( included this Bonhoeffer quote in their most recent issue, and I thought it most appropriate for those of us seeking to live into the Book of Faith resolution that passed at synod assembly (and may be in process at yours) this year:

"The prayer-desk has disappeared from our offices. Luther, however, had one...Pastors must pray more than the congregation. They have more to pray for. They need the strengthening of their faith and the illumination of their understanding. Prayerful consideration of the Scripture gives us firm footing. It makes us certain of what we should pray for. We need this prayerful refuge when we do not see how we can go on anymore and Satan tries to tear faith out of our hearts. We need it before every hour of decision-making. We need the study of Scriptures when we feel inadequate and unable to pray. It drives us to the cross that Christ bore and brings that which bothers us and from which we suffer into proper perspective.

Every day should begin with meditation on the Scriptures. Before we meet others, we should meet Christ. Before we decide something, his decision should have confronted us... We are neither obliged nor entitled to have something unusual happen in our prayerful reading of the Bible. We do not await special happenings or experiences. We have the commission only to do this work. God intends that the Word of God should be read and prayed over. We leave it up to God what will come of it. In this work the pastor must only be faithful and obedient." (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Worldly Preaching: Lectures on Homiletics, Crossroad, 1991)

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