Thursday, August 25, 2016

prayer that avails nothing

Lewis tells us about ineffective prayer today in A Year with C.S. Lewis.

He says that if we can be distracted from praying for actual people, and begin praying for someone we make up in our minds, then our prayers are ineffective. And he has a point.

But I must confess that my title is a little misleading. I don't think prayer ever avails nothing. When we lift our hearts to God in prayer, it doesn't always matter what we say. The very fact that we're taking time to lift our heart to Him is itself prayer. Now, it's true that some people get on their knees and fold their hands, only to complain about other people and never really "lift their heart to God."

However, most of the time just WANTING to come to God in prayer is itself what God is looking for. And as simple as Lewis makes it out to be for Screwtape to lead his "patient" down the wrong road, it is even simpler for us to thwart that attempt. How, you may ask? By asking God to help us pray.

There is a prayer that you KNOW He will answer with a resounding yes. Asking Him to lead us to pray better? There isn't much of a prayer that will get a stronger answer. The thing He wants from us more than anything is to spend time with Him. We are COMMANDED to love Him. So if we ask Him "God, please help me to pray better", you better believe He will help you.

God, thank You that even the desperate, fervent prayer of a miserable sinner avails something.