Now Available on Kindle Living The Life!: Daily Reflections

On The Upper Room Discourse Re-Release For Lent 2024


Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving.
Colossians 4:2

The apostle Paul urges us to devote ourselves to prayer, but do you have times you don’t feel like praying? I certainly do, but try to remember that feelings are fickle, not to be trusted with something so important as whether I pray or not. I am helped in this by C. S. Lewis who takes up feelings and prayer in his book Screwtape Letters. This is a book about a senior demon, Screwtape, who tutors a young novice demon, Wormwood. Knowing the importance of prayer for the Christian, Screwtape advises Wormwood about a tried-and-true stratagem to keep a Christian from praying:

“Keep them watching their own minds and trying to produce feelings there by the action of their own wills…Teach them to estimate the value of each prayer by their success in producing the desired feeling; and never let them suspect how much success or failure of that kind depends on whether they are well or ill, fresh or tired, at that moment.”

Among many people writing to Lewis for spiritual counsel was Genia Goelz, who addressed Lewis about her lack of feelings when she prayed. Lewis wrote back:

“Don’t bother much about your feelings. When they are humble, loving, brave, give thanks for them: when they are conceited, selfish, cowardly, ask to have them altered. In neither case are they you, but only a thing that happens to you. What matters is your intentions and your behavior.” (Yours Jack: Spiritual Direction from C. S. Lewis, ed. by Paul Ford)

I read Lewis and I am reminded of the many important things I do without always feeling like doing them. Things like paying bills, going to work, changing diapers, and taking out the garbage. I don’t give a moment’s thought to whether I feel like doing them, I just do them because they are important. How much more do I need, as Paul urges in today’s scripture, ‘to devote myself to prayer’!

I have a friend who had a deadly brain tumor and went daily to a clinic for radiation treatments. I asked him what the treatments felt like, and he told me, “Oh, I don’t feel anything! I don’t see anything. I don’t hear anything. But boy, what a difference they are making!” Daily, slowly, imperceptibly, something powerful was working in him, whether he could feel it or not! It was saving his life!

I often think of prayer like that. Daily, slowly, imperceptibly, often without any feeling, God is working powerfully within us. What a difference it is making; it is saving our eternal lives!

A fellow traveler,

recent posts

join our list

Sign up and receive our weekly devotionals, Selah podcast episodes, info on seasonal devotionals, and announcements.