The Worship Quote of the Week for (06/12/2007):

Concentration in Prayer
Do you have a difficult time concentrating during times of personal or corporate prayer? (Recently, I heard that the average person's mind wanders every seventeen seconds during prayer.) Today’s WORSHIP QUOTE is a delightful and hard-hitting lesson from the animal kingdom. Our teacher is Martin Luther (with the help of his dog Tölpel).

When Luther’s puppy happened to be at the table, looked for a morsel from his master, and watched with open mouth and motionless eyes, he [Martin Luther] said, “Oh, if I could only pray the way this dog watches the meat! All his thoughts are concentrated on the piece of meat. Otherwise he has no thought, wish, or hope.” (May 18, 1532, Number 274)

—Martin Luther (1483-1546) as recorded by Veit Dietrich in TABLE TALK, Volume 54 of LUTHER’S WORKS: AMERICAN EDITION, edited and translated by Theodore G. Tappert. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1967, pp. 37-38. ISBN: 0-8006-0354-0.

[TABLE TALKS is an extensive collection of notes taken by students and friends as they shared meals with Professor Luther. This selection is written by Veit Dietrich, a student who lived in Luther’s home and recorded many of the mealtime conversations between 1531 and 1533. Interested readers can find selections of TABLE TALK on the Internet at]

Have a great week,

Chip Stam
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Music and Worship
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Louisville, Kentucky

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