From Martin Luther’s Preface to the Large Catechism:
If this were not enough to admonish us to read the Catechism daily, there is God’s command. That alone should be incentive enough. Deuteronomy 6:7,8 solemnly enjoins that we should always meditate upon his precepts whether sitting, walking, standing, lying down, or rising, and keep them before our eyes and in our hands as a constant token and sign. Certainly God did not require and command this so solemnly without reason. He knows our danger and need. He knows the constant and furious attacks and assaults of the devil. So he wishes to warn, equip, and protect us against them with good “armor” against their “flaming darts,” and with a good antidote against their evil infection and poison. O what mad, senseless fools we are! We must ever live and dwell in the midst of such mighty enemies as the devils, and yet we despise our weapons and armor, too lazy to give them a thought!
A Simple Way to Pray
Martin Luther fully recognized what we are addressing. When he wrote A Simple Way to Pray for Master Peter, the Barber, he was fervent in identifying the meaning of the Third Petition of the Lord’s Prayer. Listen to how Martin Luther saw the power of evil in the world.
“Then say: O dear Lord, God and Father, thou knowest that the world, when it cannot frustrate thy name and wholly root out thy kingdom, employs tricks and frauds, carries on its many intrigues and strange plots, takes counsel, whispers, bolsters and fortifies itself, threatens and blusters, and proceeds with all evil will against thy name, thy Word, thy kingdom, and thy children to destroy them.
Therefore, dear Lord, God and Father, convert and restrain. Convert those who should still acknowledge thy good will, that they with us and we with them may be obedient to thy will, ready in this obedience to suffer willingly, patiently, and gladly all evil, cross, and tribulation, learning therein to know, and test, and experience thy good, gracious, and perfect will. But do thou restrain those who will not cease their raging, raving, hating, threatening, and wicked intent to do harm, and set to naught and shame their counsels, evil plots, and stratagems, that these may return upon their own heads, as Psalm 7 says. Amen.”
The Estate of Marriage, volume 45 of Luther’s Works
Most certainly father and mother are apostles, bishops and priests to their children, if they make them acquainted with the gospel. In short, there is no greater or nobler authority on earth than that of parents over their children, for this authority is both spiritual and temporal.
See Smalcald articles where Luther talks about the “mutual conversation and consolation” of the saints as a way the Gospel extends “God’s guidance and help” into people’s lives.
A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
A mighty fortress is our God, A sword and shield victorious; He breaks the cruel oppressor’s rod And wins salvation glorious The old satanic foe has sworn to work us woe! With craft and dreadful might He arms himself to fight On earth he has no equal.
No strength of our can match his might! We would be lost, rejected. But now a champion comes to fight, Whom God himself elected. You ask who this may be? The Lord of hosts is he! Christ Jesus, mighty Lord, God’s only Son, adored. He holds the field victorious.
Though hordes of devils fill the land All threat’ning to devour us, We tremble not, unmoved we stand; They cannot overpow’r us. Let this world’s tyrant rage; In battle we’ll engage! His might is doomed to fail; God’s judgment must prevail! One little word subdues him.
God’s Word forever shall abide, No thanks to foes, who fear it; For God himself fights by our side With weapons of the Spirit. Were they to take our house, Goods, honor, child, or spouse, Though life be wrenched away. They cannot win the day. The Kingdom’s ours forever! (highlighted print is mine)
Quotes by Others
Matthew 10:16 Jesus said, “See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise (prudent, shrewd, discerning) as serpents and innocent as doves.”
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” –Edmund Burke
“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way it treats its children”. –Nelson Mandela
“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” –Frederick Douglas
“The ultimate question for a responsible man to ask is not how he is to extricate himself from the affair, but how the coming generation shall continue to live.” –Bonhoeffer, After Ten Years, Dec. 1942
“If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first hour sharpening the ax.” –Abraham Lincoln