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Psalm 1

The Two Ways

1 Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers; 2 but their delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law they meditate day and night. 3 They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper.

4 The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. 5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; 6 for the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

The story goes that one day while he was getting a haircut, Martin Luther was asked by his barber, Peter Beskendorf, “Dr. Luther, how do you pray?” In answer to his question, Luther sent Beskendorf a letter—40 printed pages in length! Luther’s “prayer plan,” as it turned out, was a combination of Bible study and prayer. In order to give his barber an easy plan by which to formulate prayers on the thoughts of his Bible study, Luther said he should ask the four questions to a text and then weave them into his prayer based on the answers Scripture gives him.

  • What does this Bible lesson teach me to do? (Main Theme)

  • What does it teach me to be thankful for? (Specific Gospel)

  • What does it teach me to confess? (Specific Sin)

  • What does it teach me to ask for? (Sanctification)

Luther’s Four Big Barber Questions are not only a great way to develop a productive prayer life, but they are also a good way of studying the Bible.

I encourage you today to use the psalm verses above and ask these four questions. You may want to take some notes to help you in formulating the prayer for today.

Dear God, I thank you for your Word, for it is given to direct and to guide me in the right paths.

Direct me to do ….

Today I give thanks for ….

For the things I have done and left undone, I confess….

All that is good is a gift from you. In humble adoration, I ask for ….

For these I pray today, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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