Monday, March 7

Prayer: On Praying As We Now Are

....we want to know not how we should pray if we were perfect but how we should pray being as we are now....It is no use to ask God with factitious earnestness for A when our whole mind is in reality filled with the desire for B. We must lay before him what is in us, not what ought to be in us....

It may well be that the desire can be laid before God only as a sin to be repented; but one of the best ways of learning this is to lay it before God....I have no doubt at all that if they are the subject of our thoughts, they must be the subject of our prayers--whether in penitence or in petition or in a little of both: penitence for the excess, yet petition for the thing we desire.

If one forcibly excludes them, don't they wreck all the rest of our prayer? If we lay all the cards on the table, God will help us moderate the excesses. But the pressure of things we are trying to keep out of our mind is a hopeless distraction. As someone said, 'No noise is so emphatic as one you are trying not to listen to.'

The ordinate frame of mind is one of the blessings we must pray for, not a fancy-dress we must put on when we pray.

And perhaps, as those who do not turn to God in petty trials will have no habit or such resort to help them when the great trials come, so those who have not learned to ask Him for childish things will have less readiness to ask Him for great ones. We must no be too high-minded. I sense that we may sometimes be deterred from small prayers by a sense of our own dignity rather than of God's.

---C. S. Lewis, in Prayer: Letters to Malcolm.

Tulipgirl shares one of her favorite prayers.

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