Pruefungsfragen: “Questions for Self-Examination”. First Commandment
These are the “self-examination” or “proving-questions” out of the Evangelische Lutherischer Gebets-Schatz published by Concordia in the 1800s. What follows is the first commandment. The gentleman who wrote them was a pastor, but I wasn’t able to find much biographical information. I’m putting these questions in the bulletin for the next several months; then I hope I can put together a small book of prayers for our congregation.
280. Self-examination Questions.
Salomo Liscovius, German Lutheran Pastor (d. 1716)
Holy and righteous God, You who see and hear everything, I come now before You to honestly examine my condition and to find out where I stand—whether I am on the road to damnation. I am much too corrupt and my heart is far too false and deceitful for this; search me out Yourself, O God! Test and search out how I am within, and allow me to recognize my condition in truth through Your Word and Spirit.
Have I often thought about You, You great Creator and Preserver, Redeemer and Sanctifier?
Have I held Your will and commandments as the plumb line in what I have done and left undone, so that I always ask myself: Does God’s commandment permit this?
Have I sometimes had detestable thoughts within me, such as: “Maybe there is no God?”
Have I not worshipped many idols, exalting myself, following my will alone, and having sought only my own honor and pleasure?
Haven’t I had a greater fear in the face other men than before God? Haven’t I been more timid in their presence more than God’s presence, striving after their favor more than after God’s grace?
Haven’t I done out of love for man numerous things that I would not do out of love for God?
Haven’t I put my trust in powerful friends and benefactors and in the favor of men?
Has my heart found peace in temporal things—money, goods, honor—and thus not sought happiness and joy solely in the Eternal Good, from which all other good things come?
Have I sought the help of sorcerers [as well as occultists, mediums, fortune tellers, those who call on any kind of spirits, false gods, or saints to practice magic, cast spells, tell the future, or speak to the dead] or Satan’s aid, instead of having sought God’s help and aid? Have I been more afraid of their might than of the power of God?
Have I rightly pictured to myself God’s omnipotence, His omnipresence, His righteousness and grace, so that I have been moved to a childlike fear toward Him?
Has my fear of God also brought forth its proper fruit, such as obedience, hatred of evil, remorse over sins, humility, patience, watchfulness, and the like?
Have I striven to recognize God as the highest good and to love Him above all things?
Have I diligently pondered God’s perfection, majesty, kindness, compassion, might, riches, and favors to the end?
Has my love [toward God] come into being merely for sake of gaining temporal happiness and benefits?
Have I felt the fruits of the true love of God within me, such as hatred against sins, contempt for the world, patience, yearning for greater union with God, praise, thanksgiving, and joy?
How have I obtained my trust in God? Is it a well-founded and childlike trust?
Have I based my trust on God’s goodness, truth, omnipotence, and promises?
Has this trust worked in me its proper fruit—such as hope, calmness, courage, and endurance?
How have I obtained my knowledge of God? Is it a living or a dead knowledge?
Do I seek to increase in this knowledge?
Do I seriously guard myself against all errors [in doctrine?]
Are all my yearnings for God and His grace alone, or are there other things that come before Him?
- Luther – Prayer Concerning True Devotion (Gebets-Schatz) (deprofundisclamaviadtedomine.wordpress.com)