The Barber Who Wanted to Pray

Our three-year-old daughter enjoyed this new book after it arrived in the mail yesterday:

R. C. Sproul. The Barber Who Wanted to Pray. Paintings by T. Lively Fluharty. Wheaton: Crossway, 2011. 33 pp.

It’s about Martin Luther teaching his barber, Master Peter, a simple way to pray.

You can read the whole book online here (“Preview the Book”).

Related: See Carl Trueman, “A Lesson from Peter the Barber,” Themelios 34 (2009): 3–5. Trueman’s article ends with this footnote (numbering added):

Martin Luther’s treatise on prayer can be found in the following works:

  1. Martin Luther, “To Peter Beskendorf,” in Luther: Letters of Spiritual Council (ed. and trans. Theodore G. Tappert; Philadelphia: Westminster, 1955), 124–30;
  2. idem, “A Simple Way to Pray,” in Luther’s Works (ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, and Helmut T. Lehmann; trans. Carl J. Schindler; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1968), 43:187–209;
  3. idem, “Luther the Confessional Theologian: A Practical Way to Pray (1535),” in Martin Luther’s Basic Theological Writings (ed. William R. Russell and Timothy F. Lull; 2nd ed.; Minneapolis: Fortress, 2005), 12–17.


  1. Corey Sosebee says

    A question arose recently when thinking about children and prayer. Should we teach our children to pray? As opposed to modeling prayer for them. I couldn’t find any resources on this. I’m thinking young children here, toddlers up to the age of their profession of faith.

    If they are not “in Christ” as regenerate believers should we teach them to “pray to Jesus,” or to pray “in Jesus name”? Should we encourage them to pray at meal times and to say nightly prayers?

    I hope I’m getting the question across clearly. Thanks.

  2. says

    Good question, Corey.

    I passed along your question to a friend of mine who is a seminary professor of historical theology. Here’s his reply:

    “1. Teaching kids to pray is part of religious education.

    “2. I have heard this same question before with regard to singing in church. Same answer: teach your kids to sing the faith. It is part of religious education.”

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