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?

The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis– letter 3

Screwtape’s third letter to Wormwood highlights the truth that our growth in Christian character must embrace all our relationships– especially the most mundane, domestic and ordinary. It is often the people with whom we live that experience the most unfiltered, and un-renewed, version of us.

If you have not yet got your own copy of C.S. Lewis’ book, you can download chapter 3 here:

Screwtape’s closing sentence is, ” Remember the elder brother in the Enemy’s story.” He is referring to the other Prodigal Son, the one who never left home. His character is revealed only at the end of the Parable:

28    “The older brother became angry and refused to go in [to the celebration feast in honour of his brother]. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’ 

31    “ ‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ ”

Luke 15:28-32

For Consideration

  • How would you describe the older brother’s relationship with his father?
  • How might you advise the older brother to respond to his situation, now with his wayward brother returned home, now in conflict with his father?
  • How would you describe your relationship with your housemate(s) / family?
  • How would you like to demonstrate your Christian maturity in the mundane, domestic and ordinary parts of your life?