I would say l that both WP and what you present are both attempts to describe the same thing. I would not equate them, as Wesley's was well developed, not would I immediately say yours points to his directly, because both are man's interpretation trying to describe what the Bible says (which is also what this is).
Of course the Wesleyan model includes prayer. I believe your Luther quote is missing an important element, which is that while Luther is absolutely right that no thing (prayer included) can obtain grace (you will never get to perfection "just because you prayed"), it is nevertheless a fact that faith elicits grace, and by that grace itself, we walk free from sin and the desire of the flesh (Gal 5:16)..
Grace is Free
The key is Grace. If you ask your dad for $1,000, and he gives it to you, have you earned it? Is "asking" a work? Of course not. If you went to your dad and spent a 80 hours begging on your knees, is he in any way obligated to pay "wages" for your your prayer time? No. Prayer is not a work, and is not worthy of pay. But then, what if you never asked? Would you likely receive anything if you didn't talk to him, even though you are in a grace - filled relationship? Certainly, by no means.
So, Luther is speaking of coming to grace. You will never deserve the $1,000. You can only come on the merits of Christ. Any notion that you have any right to expect the money is contrary to the Gospel, because it is not by faith. But, having received grace, being reconciled, we go and ask Him, and He gives. We haven't earned a thing.
There are two ways to go about this, and two ways to view it when talking about it.
- On the one hand, there are those who view prayer by themselves or others as a work. They work hard, thinking prayer is the solution. This always fails, because it is not faith.
- The other perspective looks at God as the answer. I do not bring anything of my own, but considering the work of Christ, I ask the one who can supply my needs.
While outwardly these appear to be similar, they are opposites. One says I can do this, let's get to work. The other honestly says "Only God can do this, I need to talk to Him."
Prayer mere talking to God. And, while moral excellence will always only be in connection with a life of prayer, prayer is also NOT the way to personal moral holiness, contrary to some opinion. And, neither Luther nor Wesley would say that it is.
Again, Jesus Christ is the only way to holiness. But all the crying and praying won't necessarily result in moral excellence, because it is not the Biblical solution to such a problem.
The Biblical solution to is found in Romans.
For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.
The Biblical instruction for holiness is the putting to death of the misdeeds of the body through the power of the Spirit.
Colossians 2-3 also lays this out. In Colossians 2, Paul's writes that we have died with Christ, and because of that, we should no longer live by an externally imposed law, not living by the world's ordinances of Do not handle, taste, touch. These are worthless in restraining sensual indulgence. Outward laws can only regulate outward actions, and are incapable of working deeper.
In the next chapter, then, he says, v1, "Since you have been raised with Him...", v5, "Put to death therefore the misdeeds of the body...". Paul the lists the inward sins of the heart, rather than the exterior deeds of the flesh.
An Example From The Law
The instruction for moral excellence is not in laws against muzzling oxen, but rather, if by the power of the Spirit you put to death the coveteousness, greed, and idolatry living in your members (soul), you will not need any externally applied commands. Paul wrote that the goal of the command was hope, but since a law cannot legislate hope, it merely restrained the foolish actions of those who farmed without any.
Therefore, it is not prayer and crying that does it, but Christ Himself. Where we factor into all of that is debatable, but Paul commands us to do it, so our will is somewhere involved--as it should be.
This would also point to the same thing WP does, as well as what "praying to perfection" does, but it is different from how some react when they hear such a phase. Those that advocate a "perfection by prayer" rely on prayer, because it is only in the continual supply of Christ thay we are able to continually put to death what may be inside.
The Sermon on the Mount
As for the other quote, the reference to the Sermon on the Mount, no where in the three chapters of Matthew 5-7 does Jesus ever indicate he's "joking", or that He's trying merely to make a point.
No, he said, in Matthew 7, that whoever hears those words and does them is the man who built his house on a rock, and whoever hears and doesn't do them will fall in a storm.
Despite the popularity of that notion of teaching the Sermon, it is in fact contrary to what Jesus.
What is indicated in the rest of the NT is that through the Holy Spirit within, we will not live a life of habitual sin (see Gal 5:16; 1 John; 2 Timothy 2:19).