Luther's Evening Prayer


Luther's Little Instruction Book
(The Small Catechism of Martin Luther)
Appendix 1: Devotions
Translated by Robert E. Smith
July 11, 1994

My Heavenly Father, I thank You, through Jesus Christ, Your beloved Son, that You have protected me, by Your grace. Forgive, I pray, all my sins and the evil I have done. Protect me, by Your grace, tonight. I put yself in your care, body and soul and all that I have. Let Your holy angels be with me, so that the evil enemy will not gain power over me. Amen.


Welcome to the Lutheran page.

For a complete chronology of Martin Luthers Life, year by year click the link below.



An Overview of Luthers Life

Luther was born in Eisleben on November 10, 1483. He was descended from the peasantry, a fact that he often stressed. His father, Hans Luther, was a copper miner in the mining area of Mansfeld. Luther received a sound primary and secondary education at Mansfeld, Magdeburg, and Eisenach. In 1501, at the age of 17, he enrolled at the University of Erfurt, receiving a bachelor's degree in 1502 and a master's degree in 1505. He then intended to study law, as his father wished. In the summer of 1505, however, he suddenly abandoned his studies, sold his books, and entered the Augustinian monastery in Erfurt. The decision surprised his friends and appalled his father. Later in life, Luther explained it by recalling several brushes with death that had occurred at the time, making him aware of the fleeting character of life. In the monastery he observed the rules imposed on a novice but did not find the peace in God he had expected. Nevertheless, Luther made his profession as a monk in the fall of 1506, and his superiors selected him for the priesthood. Ordained in 1507, he approached his first celebration of the mass with awe.

After his ordination, Luther was asked to study theology in order to become a professor at one of the many new German universities staffed by monks. In 1508 he was assigned by Johann von Staupitz, vicar-general of the Augustinians and a friend and counselor, to the new University of Wittenberg (founded in 1502) to give introductory lectures in moral philosophy. He received his bachelor's degree in theology in 1509 and returned to Erfurt, where he taught and studied (1509-11). In November 1510, on behalf of seven Augustinian monasteries, he made a visit to Rome, where he performed the religious duties customary for a pious visitor and was shocked by the worldliness of the Roman clergy. Soon after resuming his duties in Erfurt, he was reassigned to Wittenberg and asked to study for the degree of doctor of theology. In 1512 he received his doctorate and took over the chair of biblical theology, which he held until his death.


Letter of Indulgence (Detail)

The richly coloured miniature in the gold-leafed initial O shows the Mother of God, seated in a gothic chair, nursing the Infant Christ with two angels making music on her side.




Letter of Indulgence

An indulgence was a release from the temporal penalties for sin through the payment of money, were being sold in order to raise money for the building of Saint Peter's in Rome.




Luther’s father

Painting by Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1527
Oil on wood (Copy of the original on display in the Wartburg Foundation Eisenach, by Helmut Müller, Weimar)




Luther’s mother

Painting by Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1527
(Copy of the original on display in the Wartburg Foundation Eisenach, by Helmut Müller, Weimar)

Luthers wife Katharina von Bora

In the midst of Luthers major controversy he married (1525) Katharina von Bora, a former nun. The marriage was happy, and his wife became an important supporter in his busy life.




Nailing the 95

Luther nailing his 95 thesis on the church door.




Luther’s 95 Theses

or Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences

Martin Luther: 95 Thesen über die Kraft der Ablässe (95 Theses "Luther’s 95 Theses or Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences), Nuremberg: Hieronymus Höltzel 1517, First edition (Facsimile of the original in the State Library in Berlin - Prussian cultural possession)

Luther became a public and controversial figure when he published (October 31, 1517) his Ninety-Five Theses, Latin propositions opposing the manner in which indulgences (release from the temporal penalties for sin through the payment of money) were being sold in order to raise money for the building of Saint Peter's in Rome. They caused great excitement and were immediately translated into German and widely distributed.

Luther's spirited defense and further development of his position through public university debates in Wittenberg and other cities resulted in an investigation by the Roman Curia that led to the condemnation (June 15, 1520) of his teachings and his excommunication (January 1521). Summoned to appear before Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Worms in April 1521, he was asked before the assembled secular and ecclesiastical rulers to recant. He refused firmly, asserting that he would have to be convinced by Scripture and clear reason in order to do so and that going against conscience is not safe for anyone. The statement "Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise." was uttered on these steps.

Condemned by the emperor, Luther was spirited away by his prince, the elector Frederick the Wise of Saxony, and kept in hiding at Wartburg Castle. There he began his translation of the New Testament from the original Greek into German, a seminal contribution to the development of a standard German language. Disorders in Wittenberg caused by some of his more extreme followers forced his return to the city in March 1521, and he restored peace through a series of sermons.




Katharina von Bora’s wedding ring

Katharina von Bora’ wedding ring, gold, ruby (copy of the original in the State Museum of History in Leipzig, made by Reiner Schuhmann, Görlitz)

Katharina probably wore the inner gold band with the inscription: "Catharina u. Boren D. Martin(us) Luther(us)." The outer ornamental band with the ruby, Christ crucified and the instruments of torture was added later. The ring probably became private property when sold by Luther’s heirs, the owner attempting to sell the valuable treasure at the Leipzig Trade Fair in 1743. At the beginning of the 19th century first inquiries were made concerning the whereabouts of this relic. Shortly thereafter one Madame Devrient gave the wedding ring to the Town Library in Leipzig. Even here this rarity was little heeded and was often still considered missing. Numerous copies of this ring had been made for Luther anniversaries since the early 19th century.




Luther’s tankard

"Bad and sad thoughts must be followed by a good and happy little song and a friendly conversation." (Martin Luther)




Artifacts Continued on Page 2


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