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Lewis on Praying

June 5, 2007

I too had noticed that our prayers for others flow more easily than those we offer on our own behalf. And it would be nice to accept your view that this just shows we are made to live by charity. I’m afraid, however, I detect two much less attractive reasons for the ease of my own intercessory prayers. One is that I am often, I believe, praying for others when I should be doing things for them. It’s so much easier to pray for a bore than to go and see him. And the other is like unto it. Suppose I pray that you may be given grace to withstand your besetting sin (short list of candidates for this post will be forwarded on demand). Well, all the work has to be done by God and you. If I pray against my own besetting sin there will be work for me. One sometimes fights shy of admitting an act to be a sin for this very reason.

— C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), LETTERS TO MALCOLM: CHIEFLY ON PRAYER
HT: CS

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 5, 2007 8:18 am

    Recently I’ve been confronted with my lack of intercessory prayer for others. And my failure to pray results in failure to act. Lewis challenges me to think that praying is easier than action and he’s right. But intercessory prayer is not easy if it’s done with the right heart over a sustained period of time. Both are needed and both require the Holy Spirit to lead us away from selfishness to selfless love.

  2. Sara permalink
    June 5, 2007 4:35 pm

    There’s a lot to be picked apart in here and a lot of sides that can be taken. Lewis is always astounds me — he puts words to what we feel and know to be true but we don’t realize it til he says it (does that make sense? noticed it a lot in MC). Oddly, this passage is convicting me to pray more
    Thanks, Jonathan!

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