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 became that book and enthusiasts have noted that it is perhaps his greatest work.
Easy. And hard.
Christians pray. Or at least we should.
Pastors 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 is nearly impossible to grasp.
I don't think it's necessarily good to try 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 45, 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 the God of the Universe is going to listen to little ol' me, then prayer must be a pretty important thing. 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. 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. And may pastors model the way.