Why The Phrase "Just Pray About That!" Is Bad Advice To Struggling Individuals (Law & Gospel In Laymen's Terms)

Thesis IX Of Walther's Law and Gospel In Laymen's Terms

We do a great disservice to individuals who have been struck down by the Law when we tell them that they simply need to pray more.  It is easy to do this, is it not?  If a person is struggling with soul struggles it seems rationally right to point them to prayer where they can converse with God over their struggle.  It seems like good advice to point people to prayer where they can struggle with God until they feel as if things are o.k.  "Just pray about it and God will make things right!"

What!  This is adding Law upon Law my friends.  When we direct individuals who have been struck down by the Law to more prayer we are plunging the individual into more turmoil.  The reason being is that this raises more questions of uncertainty.  How long must they pray?  How strenuously should they wrestle with God in prayer?  How long must they cry out in prayer until they can say that they have peace?  The struggling soul does not need the good advice of, "Just pray about that."  The struggling soul needs the Good News of the Gospel.

My friends we do not direct struggling individuals inward to their prayers for assurance.  Rather we direct them outward to what is objective, namely the Word and Sacraments.  For in the Word and Sacraments they hear an objective Word, that for the sake of Christ they are forgiven of all of their sins, claimed by God and declared righteous for Christ's sake.  In the Word and Sacraments they will hear that they belong to God for they have been baptized into Christ, marked by God as His own. 

Assurance comes as we deliver what is external and point people outward to what is objective.  Prayers of thanksgiving and contemplation then can flow out of the objective Word and Sacraments.