Pihkala, J. Molitva v «Loci» Ioganna Gerkharda [Prayer in Johann Gerhard’s «Loci»], in: Proslogion: Studies in Medieval and Early Modern Social History and Culture,2019. Vol. 5 (1). P. 26–35.
Juha Pihkala, Doctor in theology, docent of dogmatics, University of Helsinki (Universitetsgatan, 4, Helsingfors, Finland, 00100)
Christian tradition during its history and in all of its forms has produced huge amount of written liturgical prayer-texts, so also the Western tradition to which Lutheran churches belong. It is therefore interesting to look how this practical spiritual reality can be seen in dogmatical texts.
This essay is searching Johan Gerhard’s monumental dogmatic Loci theologici (1610–1621) and picks up those parts of the work that speak about prayer. The purpose here is to analyse Gerhard’s theology of prayer.
The analysis in this essay reveals — at first — that the vast amount of text in the work speaks very little and very rarely of prayer. There is no definition of prayer and no clearly articulated theology of prayer. Gerhard writes objectively and – naturally according to the norms of his time — a strict scientific text. As such the feeling is not at all emotional and especially spiritual.
Secondly — and this is essential — every locus ends with a short practical application, at the end of which there is a doxology. In these short passages, the text flashes out the practical piety, also prayer. Spirituality and prayer are as subjective elements seemingly outside of the text, but whole time alongside the text, in fact all the time between its lines. The doctrinal theology is only for spiritual practice and lives only because of personal and subjective dialog with God — which just is prayer.
Key Words: Lutheran orthodoxy, Lutheranism, dogmatics, Johann Arndt