Prayer, Meditation, and Spiritual Trial: Luther’s Account of Life in the Spirit

by Gordon L. Isaac

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Retail: $19.95
Size: 6 x 9 inches
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 190
Pub Date: October 2017
ISBN: 9781683070184
ISBN-13: 9781683070184
Item Number: 136776
Categories: Christian Living; General Reference Works

Product Description

“But kneel down in your little room and pray to God with real humility and earnestness, that he through his dear Son may give you his Holy Spirit, who will enlighten you, lead you, and give you understanding.”
—Martin Luther

Quite often, theology and spirituality are separated, pursued without reference to the other—a classic example of the disjunction between head and heart. But in Luther we find a profound theologian exhibiting a profound spirituality, one that still speaks to us today. Luther sets out three rules for doing proper theology: oratio, meditatio, tentatio—or prayer, meditation, and spiritual trial. These three rules, derived from David the psalmist, provide a way for readers to investigate more thoroughly what Luther says about the important practice of theology or life in the Spirit. But they also serve as a simple way for Christians to live a fuller spiritual life.

The intention of Prayer, Meditation, and Spiritual Trial is to help readers enter into the world of Luther—the Augustinian monk and Reformer who prays, meditates, and suffers spiritual trial within the community of faith that extends over the centuries. Ever the teacher and pastor himself, Gordon Isaac invites readers into the reality of living a “theology of the cross,” which helps make sense of our present struggles in this world and shows us how we can live in the love of God as revealed through Jesus Christ.


“Martin Luther was not only the central figure in the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century, but also a spiritual master whose words give guidance to all Christians today. This volume explores his spirituality through his threefold rule of prayer, meditation, and testing. A good introduction to the heart of Luther's faith.”
Timothy George, founding dean of Beeson Divinity School and general editor of the Reformation Commentary on Scripture

“Some theologians transcend their day and generation in significance, both theologically and practically. Luther is just such a one, yet many people are probably more familiar with the spectacular moments of his public life than with the devotional convictions and practices that formed the foundation of his spiritual strength. In this book, Gordon Isaac takes Luther’s famous triplet—prayer, meditation, and spiritual trials—and uses it as a means of making the Reformer’s insights relevant to the Christian today, both for personal devotion and (of particular note) practical life in the community. Highly recommended.”
Carl R. Trueman, William E. Simon Fellow in Religion and Public Life, Princeton University

Author Bio

Gordon L. Isaac (MTh, Luther Theological Seminary; PhD, Marquette University) is the Berkshire Associate Professor of Advent Christian Studies at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He is the author of “Monastic Memoria in the Preface to the Complete Edition of Luther’s Latin Writings 1545” in Luther Digest (Luther Academy, 2012), and coeditor of Great Awakenings: Historical Perspectives for Today (Hendrickson, 2016).
Editor currently resides in Wenham, Massachusetts.