Martin Luther was taking a break from the Reformation (like you do) and decided to get his hair cut. His barber asked him a question whilst he sat there under the blade, “How do you pray?” – the great reformer wrote a forty page response to his ‘lowly’ questioner.
Here’s a snippet:
“A good clever barber must have his thoughts, mind and eyes concentrated upon his razor and the beard and not forget where he is in his stroke and shave. If he keeps talking or looking around or thinking of something else (however important), he is likely to cut a man’s nose or mouth or throat. So anything that is to be done well ought to occupy the whole man with all his faculties and members. As the saying goes: he who thinks of many things thinks of nothing and accomplishes no good. How much more must prayer possess the heart exclusively and completely if it is to be good prayer?”
This is good advice to us in our short attention span age, distracted from one second to the next with all manner of things that will keep us from Christian basics, such as prayer. Prayer that “occupies the whole [person]” is a challenge that people who call themselves “Christians” must surely wrestle with. Multi-tasking is not a virtue, even though our culture tells us it is.
I know I need this advice. I know we likely all do.
(Picture: ‘Barbier Deutschland “Hofampterspiel” for King Ladislas “Posthumus”, c. 1455)