Tuesday, November 09, 2004

These are not my words...

...but they bring great hope for me...and perhaps for you, too. It seems I found this exactly when I needed to find it.

This is a quote from CS Lewis, taken from Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer, (chapter 21, para 2, 4, 6-7, 10-12, 16) which are excerpted in Wayne Martindale & Jerry Root's classic The Quotable Lewis, under the heading "Devotions". (By the by - if you're going to own one CS Lewis book, get this one. It's amazing...)

In hearing Lewis' words, I find hope that my own faith is not so singularly weak as I would suspect. And hearing his rigorous honesty about his struggle with his prayer and devotional life, I find encouragement that this is not something that I struggle with, alone. So step up to the microphone, Br'er Lewis:
The truth is, I haven't any language weak enough to depict the weakness of my spiritual life. If I weakened it enough it would cease to be language at all. As when you try to turn the gas-ring [burner on a gas stove]a little lower still, and it merely goes out.

...Prayer is irksome. An excuse to omit it is never unwelcome. When it is over, this casts a feeling of relief and holiday over the rest of the day. We are reluctant to begin. We are delighted to finish. While we are at prayer, but not while we are reading a novel or solving a cross-word puzzle, any trifle is enough to distract us...

The odd thing is that this reluctance to pray is not confined to periods of dryness. When yesterday's prayers were full of comfort and exaltation, todays will still be felt as, in some degree, a burden....What can be done
for - or what should be done with - a rose-tree that dislikes producing roses? Surely it ought to want to?...

The painful effort which prayer involves is no proof that we are doing something we were not created to do...I must say my prayers today whether I feel devout or not; but that is only as I must learn my grammar if I am ever to read the poets.

...I have a notion that what seem our worst prayers may really be, in God's eyes, our best. Those, I mean, which are least supported by devotional feeling and contend with the greatest disinclination. For these, perhaps, being nearly all will, come from a deeper level than feeling.

For the gift of honesty, for the gift of language - and for the gift of speaking from the heart, even when it hurts - I give thanks for CS Lewis today, Lord. Amen.

1 comment:

newtonfif said...

thank you for your post. i'm just looking for a daily devotion to get my heart straight. yours really hit the spot.

God bless,