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The Barber Who Wanted to Pray

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
October 15, 2021 12:01 am

The Barber Who Wanted to Pray

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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October 15, 2021 12:01 am

If you had the opportunity to ask Martin Luther one question, what would it be? Today, R.C. Sproul reads from one of his children's books based on a time in the Reformer's life when Luther's barber asked him how to pray.

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Today on Renewing Your Mind a story about a monk, a barber and prayer master Peter put a cloth around the man's neck to keep the whiskers from falling down his shirt lathered up the man's chin and began to give the man the door opened and a new customer walked into his shop master Peter recognize the man immediately. He was an outlaw RC school was a master communicator from the halls of academia to his living room. There the winter Valley study center 50 years ago. RC love to bring the truths of Scripture to any audience, but there was one group that brought a mate unique joy today on Renewing Your Mind please to feature RC reading one of his children's books.

This would call a barber who wanted to pray, and while it would be easy to assume the stories just for children.

Listen to what Andrew shared with us have 86 years old and I listened to RC Roper about 10 years and it was time when I was trying to commit suicide.

He'd come up at one of those children's stories that he wrote the book had a sort of got me through that.

Then again at another time.

I felt like committing suicide again because I wanted to give up because my family abandoned me and again I heard them do one those children's stories and got me through the suicide feeling again. And even when I heard that he passed on of a year or so ago are couple years ago I missed some of his stories and I'm glad they bring them out once again to describe the Bible and the love God has for us once again there's RC reading barber wanted to play every night at dinner, Mr. McFarlane gathered his family together for devotions.

Mr. and Mrs. McFarlane had six children, two boys and four girls. Children's names were Donovan Riley, Molly Baron Claire Delaney and Shannon. It was Mr. McFarlane's practice to read a portion of Scripture every night and give a short explanation of many would ask each of the children to recite memory verses from the Bible and to answer catechism questions. Finally, Mr. McFarlane would leave the family prayer.

Each of the children will participate in the prayers in his or her own way. One night just after devotions.

It ended with the singing of a favorite hymn, the McFarlane's daughter Delaney spoke up a she said your prayers are beautiful. Sometimes I want to cry for joy when I listen to your prayers but my prayers seem so simple and weak. I'm almost embarrassed and ashamed to pray out loud that it can you teach me how to pray in a way that will make Jesus happy and will make me feel more comfortable. Mr. McFarlane smiled.

I understand how you feel. Delaney said when I was younger I felt exactly the same way. I wasn't sure how to pray about all I knew when I was your age was the table. Grace God is great God is good and we thank him for this food. Oh yes, I also knew my nighttime prayer. Now I lay me down to sleep I pray the Lord my soul to keep if I should die before I wake I pray the Lord my soul to take.

But other than those two simple prayers. About the only thing I can say a prayer with God please bless mommy and daddy and my brother and sister, and uncle Joe and aunt Sue. Then my grandfather told me a story that changed everything for me. You think you might like to hear the story. Delaney said yes. I surely the other children who had been listening to the conversation between Delaney and their father nodded eagerly to so Mr. McFarlane told his children. This story Once upon a time in a village far across the sea there lived a barber everyone in the town knew him not only cut men's hair and shave their beards, but he could do all sorts of things that people needed to have done.

The villagers called him simply master Peter one morning, one of the village men came in first shave master Peter put a cloth around the man's neck to keep the whiskers from falling down his shirt lathered up the man's chin got out his razor and began to give the man while Margaret was shaving the door opened and a new customer walked into his shop master Peter recognize the man immediately. He was an outlaw Emperor of the land had promised a large reward for anyone who could capture him dead or alive master Peter knew that the authorities would take this man away if they could get their hands on him when master Peter finished shaving the first gentleman he sent him on his way in motion for the outlaw to have a seat Mr. Peter asked what can I do for you today sir. The outlaw said I would like to have a haircut and ashamed. Peter began to slip away at the man's hair trimming, then rub so bladder on his face to prepare him for shave, Peter took out his razor as he shortened it on the strop beside the barber chair. His hands began to tremble as he thought about the importance of the man were sitting here and calm himself down and began to shave the man's face moving down from his cheeks to his chin to his neck. Peter's razor was pressed very gently against the outlaws and all Peter had to do was press hard on the razor and he would cut the man's throat killing him instantly. Then Peter could go to the Emperor and say that he had taken care of the outlaw and he could claim the reward which would make him rich as his razor touched the man's neck master Peter thought to himself. There's not enough money to make me kill this man is my master, Peter knew the story, the man in his chair.

The man had been a monk, then a night and now he was a world-famous professor at the University in Peter's time. The world had been changed in the whole church was better because the reformer had been brave enough to stand up for the truth of the gospel of Jesus as no one had since the days of the apostles. No one had so much courage as he the name of the outlaw in the chair was Mark Luther, the man whose protest and started the Protestant Reformation and recovered the gospel from darkness, but because his teachings had disturbed some of the authorities including the Emperor himself. Those who were opposed to him had convinced the Emperor to banish Prof. Luther Nally wanted to capture him and burn him at the state, the people who discovered the truth of the gospel of Jesus. Because of this man's teaching loved him so much that they would rather lay down their lives than see him capture exit Dr. Luther's barber master Peter was one of those people.

Peter would never betray his suddenly Peter had an idea. He had been struggling with his prayers and Dr. Luther was famous for his prayer life. He decided to ask Dr. Luther for his advice while he was sitting in the barber chair Peterson Dr. Luther I know you are. It is a privilege for me to have you in my barbershop today. I wonder whether I may ask you a question. Dr. Lisette, of course, you may how can I help you Peter said I have a problem. I try to pray every night, but sometimes I feel that my prayers never go any further than the ceiling. I know that you pray for hours every day there's probably no one who knows how to pray better than you do you think you could help me learn. Pray better.

Dr. Luther said that's a wonderful question.

My friend, my students asked me very deep questions all the time about God of the Bible and church life, but rarely do they ask me about how to grow as a Christian. Nothing makes me happier than to learn that you want to pray in a deeper way. Let me go back to my study and think about it, and perhaps I can write down a few ideas that will help you pray more effectively. Thank you Dr. Luther Peter said that he quickly finished Dr. Luther Shea Dr. Lizza got back to his study. He picked up his pen and began to write instructions for master Peter Dr. Luther wrote more than 50 books during his lifetime, but perhaps the smallest and shortest book he ever wrote was the one he wrote, especially for his barber master Peter in this book Dr. Luther explained his method for prayer. He called the little book. A simple way to play.

The book was finished.

Dr. Luther went back to the barbershop and gave the first copy to master Peter. Peter couldn't believe that the great Martin Luther had taken time to write a book just for him so that he could learn how to pray. Dr. Luther said to begin with, you must learn three things. My memory first is the Lord's prayer.

The second is the 10 Commandments and the third is the apostles Creed. Then Dr. Luther went on to explain that once Peter knew these things by heart. He could use them to help himself.

Pray for example Dr. Luther said. You begin by praying through the Lord's prayer Peter asking me that all I have to do is just pray the Lord's prayer every night. No Dr. Luther said that's not what I'm it's a wonderful thing to do, but what I mean by praying through the Lord's prayer is doing something like this. Think about the first petition in the Lord's prayer our father in heaven, hallowed be think about these words allow your mind and your heart to give careful attention to what these words say and let them move you to deeper prayer, say the first line of the prayer and then begin to pray like this will God. It's hard for me to believe that you are really willing to be my heavenly father and our family.

We have our father whom we love, but you are the father of all of us who put our faith in Jesus is because Jesus is your son and through him you have adopted us into your family that we have the privilege to pray to you as our father. We know that you don't have an address here in our village, but you reside in heaven itself, not our earthly father, your heavenly father you are the one who owns the whole it's a wonderful thing that we have a father owns everything I can come in my Jesus taught us to say, hallowed be your name.

Father, help me to understand that there's nothing more important in my life and in my prayer to give reverence and worship to your name. Guard my tongue that I may never use your name and the foolish or corrupt manner, but that when I speak of you, and when I think if you, my heart will be moved to respect and adore you Dr. Luther said to Peter, do you understand what I mean by praying to the Lord's prayer. You can pray through these parts of the Lord's prayer every day and never make the same prayer twice. You can think about one portion of it. Give your attention to that in your prayers will rise in excitement and enjoy then Dr. Luther said nothing about pray for the 10 Commandments. The First Amendment says you shall have no other gods before me. You can pray something like this, Lord God, we know that the world is with people who worship idols and statues who believe in many gods you and you alone are God. Sometimes there are things in my life that I put ahead of you things that become my items. Forgive me when I do that help me not to allow myself to have any other gods in your sight master Peter was pretty excited. I see what you mean.

Dr. Luther grinned you can go through each one of the 10 Commandments in that manner. He said or you can turn your attention to the apostles Creed. It begins with. I believe in God the father Almighty begin to think about that. You begin to think of the power God has the strength that he displays our children think that way is there earthly fathers are so strong that we can do anything but we are complete weaklings compared to God because he is Almighty we love them not just for what he can do for us for who he is, so we can pray, pray never get tired of pray we can never run out of things to pray about.

If we focus our attention on the Lord's prayer on the 10 Commandments and on the apostles Creed master Peter could not think Dr. Luther enough for teaching him the secret to a simple way to pray. When Mr. McFarlane and the story he said those children do you see why every night doing devotions I want to make sure that you are learning that the Lord's prayer, the 10 Commandments, a positive screen from now on in our devotions. When you pray I'm going to ask you to practice praying in the simple way that Dr. Luther taught his Delaney said thank you for telling us that story. Daddy I can hardly wait to try Dr. Luther's way to pray. In fact, can we have family devotions again tonight so we can try the other children said oh yes daddy please Mr. McFarlane was delighted to see his children's new interest in prayer. He said with the timeless left on our broadcast today.

I've asked Chris Larson to be with me in the studios that we can discuss some of the application of this story.

Thank you Chris for being with us today and let's just get right into it. Thank you RC for reading that story today tell us where did you first hear the story of master Peter and Martin Luther of Christmas many many years ago, and I've spent a lot of time studying the life of Luther in one of the things that I found striking in his ministry was how deeply dedicated he was to prayer coming, he would pray for at least an hour every day, sometimes two, and three hours a day.

He had first learned that discipline while he was in the monastery and after he came out of the monastery. He never abandonment and it was with him for his entire life to what made you decide to write a children's book about master Peter and Martin Luther will my good friend Archie Perry shows the president of serve international goes around the country and does clinics in churches on what he calls kingdom focused prayer, and Archie is himself a prayer warrior extraordinaire Andy and I were having a conversation once dinner about Luther and his prayer life and about the episode in which he taught his barber how to pray and so we came up with the idea of republishing that little book of Luther's a simple way to pray with some introduction to it and we did that and Archie and I did that together and Archie has used that all over the country in the churches and for pastors, and frankly that method that Luther taught the barbers a method I've used myself and I find it absolutely exciting and incredible and I was thinking this Chris.

I'm just back up a little bit. People in the church. In many cases are overwhelmed with guilt because of their ineffective prayer lives and pastors are always saying you need to pray.

You need to pray need to pray more and people just feel more and more and more guilty because nobody teaches them how to pray the disciples themselves were in that bind and they came to Jesus and they didn't say tedious out of turn water into wine or how to walk on the water. Call the store but they should teach us how to pray because they saw the connection between Jesus power his own prayer life and that's how we got the Lord's prayer in the first place, not something we are to recite all the time but it was a model demonstrate how to pray how prayer should progress in the begins with the most important first petition that we would treat the name of God is holy hallowed be thy name. And so I was thinking that this is been so helpful to me and it's been so helpful to adults, why not for children were not children learning. This method early on in their lives that they can build on it as they get older and older because there's no end to praying through the 10 Commandments of the Lord's prayer or the apostles Creed as a structure to trigger our thinking and the focus of our meditation to our prayers should be more and more and more focused on adoration and on the praise of God, and less and less and less on our own interceding for our once in our needs you over. Sometimes we bring a laundry list or a Christmas list inflicted God as a heavenly Santa Claus, not the real depth of prayer comes when we are adoring God said you advocate for children to be able to have this nighttime habit of prayer yes and so should the parents allow their children to pray these prayers as you said, maybe not verbatim right. I think that the parent should should teach the kids how to do it. Just like Luther taught his barber and it's not hard to make sure he can learn things quickly make and memorize it with amazing speed and accuracy is nothing for children to learn to memorize the Lord's prayer for the 10 Commandments, just about every child in the church at some point has memorized the 10 Commandments, but if you give the adults in the church now little quiz and said please name the 10 Commandments in order not one in 10 is able to do that but if you're praying through the 10 commitments all the time and focusing your mind in your thinking on it in your meditation on it then that very long God takes deep rooted in your mind and in your heart and this is something that will be with you your entire life. So for children to be able to hide God's word in their heart and this is something that you would advocate very much so, how deep should parents go in their explanation of terms like Protestant Reformation and on the Old Testament, the watershed moments of God's redemptive activity such as the Exodus was recalled. Every year at the Passover feast in and it was the custom of the parents to teach their children what God had done and what had taken place, and I often say that people have a Protestant who knows what is broken is that most Protestants don't and they have forgotten the awakening that took place in the 16th century when the gospel was brought out of the darkness and into the light as a watershed moment in church history, a watershed moment for the people of God. Our children need to know about the heroes of the 16th century the price that was paid to recover the gospel for the churches about posture, how important is it to teach children about posturing, prayer, and thought the best way to pray was standing up with your eyes open and looking up to the heavens with your arms uplifted other people feel more comfortable on their knees.

I love to get down on my stomach on the ground on the rug. I think it's important to get comfortable so that you're not thinking about how your body's feeling but your entire focus is given to the exercise of prayer itself, but the good thing about the bowing down which is the classical method is your adopting a posture of adoration while you're involved in prayer. So what can we as parents or even grandparents be doing to teach children to pray beyond reading this story I think the most important thing that they can teach their children is to learn these three things that they're there. And this story might learn memorize apostles. To memorize the 10 commitments to memorize the Lord's prayer and then demonstrate for them. Examples of how you focus on the different petitions are the different parts of the prayer itself. Thank you so much for the gift you've given here in this retelling of the story is my privilege and I am delighted with these little children stories and that thing so many times that are more helpful for the parents than they are for the children because every parent can be greatly blessed by learning this simple way to pray for the men and that I hope that any of you parents or grandparents who are listening right now will take to heart what RC was saying there about how important it is to emphasize these things to the children in our lives. It was a privilege to hear RC reading the barber who wanted to pray, we heard some church history. We also learned about prayer directly from the great reformer himself, Martin Luther, Dr. Spruill founded leader ministries because he wanted to make theological instruction accessible when you give a donation of any amount today. We would like to send you this beautifully illustrated hardbound edition of the barber who wanted to pray for you parents and grandparents.

It is a wonderful book to have on hand. Your children will enjoy looking through the pages over and over. You can find us or you can call us yard number is 800-435-4343 and in advance let me thank you for your generous donation before we go today have asked Chris Larson our president and CEO to stop by the studio Chris we heard from Andrew at the beginning of the program about the profound impact RC's children stories had on him. He's just one of many listeners who told us how much they appreciate the teaching that legionnaires producing rightly and I want our listeners to be encouraged by these testimonies that have come in because I know so many of you are dear listeners pray for the word of God as it goes out through Renewing Your Mind and all of legionnaires outreaches that listen to this testimony that came in recently from Liz and Wyoming. I remember hearing Renewing Your Mind on every soul will I by Dr. Spruill every additional explanation scriptures and obvious gifts for sound doctrine totally blown away from a very abusive childhood, and at the time had been self-medicating and had wound up getting addicted to drugs but after smearing Dr. Spruill and going back every day thereafter to listen to him on the radio on renewing emerging I started developing real hunger for God's word and the Holy Spirit wanted me and I can't go a day which help to one of his neck which is such a great blessing and I can't thank you: site level what you're doing. And now that I'm going to be 11 years and my sobriety in a couple weeks. I can look back and really credit Dr. spells inspiration with getting me where I am today. God bless you all and thanks for much and so I would ask you to continue to pray for this ministry because it is making a difference in the lives of so many people around the world.

Thank you Chris for stopping by ensuring that when I sent that to you, our listeners, we hope you'll join us next week as we have the privilege of hearing doctors both free from several New Testament books is beginning Monday here on Renewing Your Mind

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