I am just a few pages away from finishing C.S. Lewis’ Letters to Malcolm. This was the last book Lewis wrote before his death in 1963 at the age of 64. Of all that Lewis wrote about the Christian life, Letters to Malcolm was the only book he wrote specifically on prayer. Lewis notes that he made several attempts during his life and career to write on prayer and at least once started a book but it just never developed. Letters to Malcolm would eventually become that book and enthusiasts have noted that it is perhaps his greatest work.
Easy. And hard.
Christians pray. Or at least we should. What prayer is and what it does and how it works and the ways it changes us and the world and maybe even God is nearly impossible to grasp.
I am not going to attempt in this blog to say something new or revolutionary about prayer. If C.S. Lewis wrestled the whole of his life with the issue of prayer, who am I at the fledgling age of 43, to expound new wisdom? But I have been thinking much on prayer in recent days, mostly because of Lewis, and I have been doing quite a bit more prayer than is normal for me. So here are just a few thoughts on prayer that have been camping out in my mind:
1. Prayer works. I don’t know exactly how it works but it does. It works on me and it works on God. And for whatever reason, God chooses to listen to the prayers of His children and to answer them. That means that…
2. Prayer is interaction with God. This absolutely boggles my mind. God, who has been and always will be, who was there before the beginning and created the heavens and the earth, and who is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – this God listens to me. And somehow in a way that I cannot explain, but I know to be very real, He responds. Yes, God “talks” back to me, and I suspect to all His children who pray to Him. That means that…
3. Prayer is important. If God, who I am sure is very busy, is going to take the time to listen to me, then it must be important to Him that I have something to say. And if God actually has something to say back to me, then I surely had better be in a posture to listen because when God speaks, it will always be important. That means that…
4. I had better make time for prayer. If I do not it is my loss for certain, but I suspect that it may be a loss for God as well. I do not mean this to sound like poor theology, but if I had a child who refused to make time to talk to me, I would be sad. I might even be angry but for certain it would break my heart. Because I recognize that Satan exists and that he is working his own schemes on earth, I know that he is very scared when Christians talk to God and God answers them back with marching orders. So Satan will create all manner of distraction to keep Christians from praying. I suspect his efforts work more often than not. The only cure is to MAKE the time to pray.
Many more thoughts have circulated through my mind on prayer but these are the ones I keep coming back to. May the children of God be people of prayer.