This morning, the appointed reading from the Book of Concord was the seventh petition of the Lord's Prayer in the Large Catechism, particularly paragraphs 121-124:
It is therefore a pernicious delusion when people pray in such a way that they dare not wholeheartedly add "Yes" and conclude with certainty that God hears their prayer. Instead, they remain in doubt, saying, "Why should I be so bold as to boast that God hears my prayer? I am only a poor sinner," etc. That means that they are looking not at God's promise but at their own works and worthiness, and thereby they despise God and accuse him of lying. Therefore they receive nothing, as St. James [1:6-7] says, "But ask in faith, never doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind; for the doubter... must not expect to receive anything from the Lord." Look! God has attached much importance to our being certain so that we do not pray in vain or despise our prayers in any way.Martin Luther LOVES to remind us to pray with certainty, giving our resounding "Amen" to the end of our prayers, knowing that as God's dear children, we can ask our dear Father for whatever we need. And He will hear us, NOT because of who we are-- for we are sinners, it is true-- but because He has promised He will hear us for Christ's sake!
This is something that I think about frequently: If I KNOW that God delights to hear my prayers, why on earth do I not pray with more fervor and more boldly, making outlandish requests of my Father who loves me? What's the worst that can happen if I do? He'll say "no." But that answer doesn't change the fact that I am His baptized and beloved child, so why hesitate?
That connects beautifully to the other Luther reading I had this morning, from one of his baptismal sermons, in LW 51:320-321:
Here [in baptism], says St. Paul, is the Word of the living God which says, I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit; in other words, here not a man, but God himself is baptizing. For when it is done in his name it is done indeed by the holy Trinity,because of His word by which He
Beautiful! I am baptized! Praise the Lord!