Pray About Present Problems: ch. 9 of How To Pray by CS Lewis

As we end the Christmas season today, let’s reflect on the blessed privilege of being able to cast all our cares upon our Lord.

This ninth chapter in the new book, How To Pray by C. S. Lewis, is comprised of 4 out of the 5 paragraphs from number 27 of The Screwtape Letters. It begins with distractions in prayer, proceeds to mention a false idea of spirituality (as if God didn’t really mean for us to pray for our bread), and then ends with stuff we’ve already seen in our review of the book.  These are: a) answers to prayer as proofs of prayer’s effectiveness, and b) God’s timelessness as a way of understanding the relationship between our prayers, free-will, love, etc.

Having already read about a) and b) above, the top value of the chapter is the first paragraph, dealing with distractions in prayer. Believers, eager for their prayers to flow undistractedly in fellowship with God, are very grieved by thoughts which distract them from this communion. Solutions to such distracting thoughts is a common subject in the literature on Christain prayer.

Lewis’s answer, via reversing Screwtape’s advice to Wormwood, is simply to admit the problem when it occurs and bring it to the Lord, just like you would bring any other problem in life. We are to live in the present in an honest fashion with the God who knows everything about us better than we do. Honest dealing with whatever our present problem may be is the quickest way to enjoying God’s answer to that problem.

Following Lewis here will result in a deliverance from fretting about distractions. What would normally be painful distractions will become opportunities for fellowship with our Father, who sees us in secret and upbraids us not, but faithfully bears us on our way to glory.

In conclusion, if God listens to prayer about our mental distractions, he is surely much more ready to hear prayer for the greater afflictions of this life.  Having opened the door to heaven so widely and permanently in His Son, let us be anxious for nothing, but in everything, let us cast our cares upon him, who cares for us.

Have a blessed Epiphany!

Image from Pixabay. Reference: C. S. Lewis, How To Pray: Reflections and Essays, (New York, HarperOne, 2018), ISBN-13: 978-0062847133.

Please note that the content and viewpoints of Rev. Beckmann are his own and are not necessarily those of the C.S. Lewis Foundation. We have not edited his writing in any substantial way and have permission from him to post his content.

The Rev. David Beckmann has for many years been involved in both the Church and education. He helped to start a Christian school in South Carolina, tutored homeschoolers, and has been adjunct faculty for both Covenant College and the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga. He founded the C.S. Lewis Society of Chattanooga in 2005. He has spoken extensively on C.S Lewis, and was the Director of the C.S Lewis Study Centre at The Kilns from 2014-2015. He is currently a Regional Representative for the C.S. Lewis Foundation in Chattanooga.