“Dear Lord God, Father, do not call us into judgment, for in your presence no one is righteous. Please do not condemn us for being ungrateful for all of your unspeakable goodness—both spiritual and physical—and for our daily blunders and sins—which are more than we know or mark (Psalm 19:12). Furthermore, do not consider how good or bad we have been, but look upon us with your infinite compassion, bestowed upon us by Christ, your beloved Son.”
Peter the Barber is one of the most interesting figures in church history. He was not like so many others–of whom we have accounts in the annals of church history–a theological giant. He did not start any charitable organization or initiate a movement to liberate an oppressed people. He was Martin Luther’s barber (and, apparently was quit committed to the bowl cut!). In 1535, Luther wrote his instructive little book, A Simple Way to Prayer, at Peter’s request. Luther wasted no time in helping his friend. He set out in four simple sections some of his most profound thoughts on prayer. Luther gave general instruction on prayer, together with a short exposition of the Lord’s Prayer, the Ten Commandments, and the Apostle’s Creed.
Although Luther’s Simple Way to Pray is full of simple, clear, and direct instructions to help us learn to pray as we ought, there are two sections in particular that I have always found to be of great importance. The first is found in Luther’s exposition of the fifth petition of the Lord’s Prayer, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.”