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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Small Catechism – part 207

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From the Word: When Reuben returned to the pit he saw that Joseph was not in the pit. And he ripped his clothing. (Genesis 37:29)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, The Sacrament of Holy Baptism

"The Daily Purpose of Baptism"

What is the significance of baptizing with water?

It signifies that the old Adam in us, together with all sins and evil desires, should be drowned by daily repentance and sorrow for sin, and be put to death, and that the new person should come forth every day and rise to live before God in righteousness and purity forever.

Where is this written?

Saint Paul says in Romans: “We were buried therefore with him by Baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4)

Pulling It Together: Perhaps we can see in Joseph’s escape from the pit, a foreshadowing of Christian baptism. In baptism, God snatches us from death and the evil intentions of the devil—though, indeed, we die in that pit. Our birth nature, with its original sin, is left floating to the bottom of the font. Our friends and family look in the font and exclaim like Reuben, He is not there! Unlike Reuben and his brothers, however, we have no reason to fear. For God has promised rebirth in that Water through his life-giving Word. Though our old nature dies with Christ in baptism, he raises us from that pit to walk in his newness of life (Rom 6:8).

Prayer: On that last day, O Lord, raise me up with you, according to your will. Amen.


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In Prayer as Joy, Prayer as StruggleMark Braaten explores many types of prayer, including thanksgiving, confession, praise, wrestling, petition, intercession, listening, and hope. He also explores what it means when the answer to prayer is "no" and how we experience prayer in times of doubt. In each chapter, he uses and extended biblical example of prayer and also provides the text of prayers we can use in our own practice. For all who seek joy in prayer, even as we struggle, Braaten offers an engaging personal and pastoral reflection on the ways we pray.

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