The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis– letter 4

Screwtape’s fourth letter to Wormwood causes us to examine our own experience of prayer. Where is our attention actually resting when we are praying? To whom do we ‘imagine’ we are addressing our prayers? What are we ‘doing’ with our bodies when we pray, and does it matter?.

If you have not yet got your own copy of C.S. Lewis’ book, you can download chapter 4 here:

For many of us, our most frequent encounter and participation in the Spiritual War will be through prayer. We may be familiar with the following passage, but have never considered the prominence of Paul’s exhortation to pray. We are to pray, wearing the full armour of God. Why should we put it all on? So that we can pray. Why do we need it? Because we are praying in a spiritual struggle. Wearing this armour, we can be ‘strong’ in the Lord’s ‘mighty power’.

6:10    Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

Ephesians 6:10-18

For Consideration

  • What impact do your feelings have on your life of prayer?
  • Are feelings ‘bad’ in prayer? How might you cultivate feelings that are congruent with the realities of prayer?
  • What impact does your body (e.g. its posture, its health or its location ) have on your life of prayer? How might your body support your life of prayer?
  • What ‘picture’ of God do you have in your head when you pray? Biblically, how might you begin to conceive of our living God as you address him in prayer?