A Counselor Reflects on Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
“What I mean is this. An ordinary simple Christian kneels down to say his prayers. He is trying to get into touch with God. But if he is a Christian he knows that what is prompting him to pray is also God: God, so to speak, inside him. But he also knows that all his real knowledge of God comes through Christ, the Man who was God – that Christ is standing beside him, helping him to pray, praying for him. You see what is happening. God is the thing to which he is praying – the goal he is trying to reach. God is also the thing inside him which is pushing him on – the motive power. God is also the road or bridge along which he is being pushed to that goal. So that the whole threefold life of the three-personal Being is actually going on in that ordinary little bedroom where an ordinary man is saying his prayers (p. 163).” Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
Before reading this section of Mere Christianity I thought that God was only prayer’s destination; that when my prayers reached the ear of God they had finally “arrived.” I don’t think I am alone in this notion. It seems to me that every person who has ever felt like their prayers were “bouncing off the ceiling” thinks of prayer this way.
When we realize that prayer is prompted by God, we can no longer imagine prayer being impeded from God. We are like Jill talking to Aslan in Prince Caspian of the Chronicle of Narnia series. She got to Narnia by praying to go. When she got there, Aslan (representing Christ) said He had called her. When Jill tried to correct Aslan, he replied, “You would not have called to me if I had not been calling you.”
But not only are our prayers prompted by God, they travel with God to God. The Holy Spirits intercedes for us even in our most unintelligible prayers (Rom 8:26-27). We begin to see that our prayers never leave God from conception to reception.
What is the practical benefit of this truth? It shows us that we are never alone. Often we pray out of desperation because we feel like we have to “cry out to God” (implying He is far away) and ask Him to “come” to our aid (again implying distance). With that mindset, our prayer only reinforces our fear until we see some change in our circumstance.
I should mention that this kind of prayer is not bad. It is honest. Throughout the Psalms, God gives us many prayers like this because He knew that we would need them (for example Psalms 44 and 102).
But more than this, God wants us to see that our prayer is a revelation of how much He has saturated our lives. As we understand the miracle of prayer, then prayer becomes a comfort even before it is answered because in prayer we have something better than an answer to our prayer – we have evidence of the constant presence of our God.
At times it may be good to remind yourself of these truths as you pray. It might sounds like this, “God, I know because I have thought to talk to you that you are with me. Thank you for not allowing me to forget or be distracted from my source of hope when life is hard. God, I know that you hear this prayer because it is being carried by the Holy Spirit and advocated for by Jesus Christ. It is amazing to realize I have the fully attention of the Trinity as this moment. As I am encouraged by that, I want to tell You of the burden that is in my life…”
Reflect on the humble boldness you would have in prayer if you prayed with a robust picture of all that prayer really meant.
If this post was beneficial for you, then considering reading other blogs from my “Favorite Posts on Spiritual Disciplines” post which address other facets of this subject.