A Prayer By A Dying Reformer

February 17, 1546 was the last night in the life of the German Reformer Martin Luther. As he lay in great pain that night he prayed,

O my heavenly Father, one God, and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Thou God of all comfort, I thank Thee that Thou hast given for me Thy dear Son Jesus Christ, in whom I believe, whom I have preached and confessed, loved and praised, whom the wicked pope and all the godless shame, persecute, and make fun of. I pray Thee, dear Lord Jesus Christ, let me commend my little soul to Thee. O heavenly Father, if I leave this body and depart, I am certain that I will be with thee forever and can never, never tear myself out of Thy hands. God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Luther biographer Frederick Nohl records this as the last prayer which Luther ever prayed. Shortly thereafter he had an attack. The doctors were called in but they quickly gave up all hope of a recovery. One of Luther’s friends, Justus Jonas, sensed the end was near and asked Luther in a loud voice: “Reverend Father, are you willing to die in the name of Christ and the doctrine which you have preached?” Luther answered with one word loudly enough for those present to hear: “Yes!” With this answer Luther fell asleep in Jesus.

It’s important to begin well. It’s also important to live well. But it is much more important to die well. May God grant to each of us such dying grace!

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