How is a Barber to Pray?


Martin Luther wrote the following to his barber when asked for advise on how he should pray.

So a good and attentive barber keeps his thoughts, attention, and eyes on the razor and hair and does not forget how far he has gotten with his shaving or cutting. If he wants to engage in too much conversation or let his mind wander or look somewhere else, he is likely to cut his customer’s mouth, nose, or even his throat. Thus if anything is to be done well, it requires the full attention of all one’s senses and members, as the proverb says, “The one who thinks of many things, thinks of nothing and does nothing right.” How much more does prayer call for concentration and singleness of heart if it is to be a good prayer!

A Simple Way to Pray

Even If He Had a Thousand Heads


On Martin Luther after refusing to retract his writings when called before Charles V:

For Luther, it was the word of God that had freed him and saved him. He had no other security. But with it he had the courage to stand . . . When he got there [back to his quarters], he raised his hands, smiled and shouted, ‘I’ve come through! I’ve come through!’; then, turning to a friend, he told him that, even if he had a thousand heads, he would rather have them all lopped off than abandon his gospel.

– Michael Reeves in The Unquenchable Flame: Discovering the Heart of the Reformation

Here is the exact quote of Luther’s words referenced above:

If I had a thousand heads I would lose them all rather than to recant.