DEVOTION: “For up until now we have been tackling the whole question in the wrong way and on the wrong level. The very question “Does prayer work?” puts us in the wrong frame of mind from the outset. “Work” as if it were magic or machine, something that functions automatically. Prayer is either a sheer illusion or a personal contact between embryonic, in complete persons (ourselves) and the utterly concrete Person. (Prayer in the sense of petition, asking for things, is a small part of it; confession and penitence are its threshold, adoration its sanctuary, the presence and vision and enjoyment of God its bread and wine.). In it God shows Himself to us. That he answers prayer is corollary, not necessarily the most important one, from that revelation. What He does is learned from what He is.” (pg 10)
Ok. A lot there. A lot…go back and read it again, I had to.
Then C.S. Lewis goes on to ask this question…”Can we believe that God ever really modifies His action in response to the suggestions of men?“
Incredible thought…and the answer surely is no. God is God. We are not. Who are we that He would even be mindful of us? Yet…He is. In the way that a Father loves His children. We are God’s children. He hears and listens to all of it. And then answers in His way and in His will.
I love his description of prayer in the above paragraph. “Confession it’s threshold, adoration it’s sanctuary, presence and vision and enjoyment of God it’s bread and wine”. Adoration it’s sanctuary is the line that stands out to me.
I was once told that when we pray, it’s not “appropriate” to dive right into the requests part. Our first step and first action when approaching a Holy God is to recognize His holiness. His goodness. His grace and mercy.
So I started changing the way I prayed to start with some type of “Adoration” as C.S. puts it here. “Father, I adore You”, “Jesus, thank you for your goodness.”
I don’t know if it’s the right way to approach prayer but it certainly makes sense to me. I liken it to when I start a conversation with a friend. I don’t immediately ask for something. I usually begin with a “how are you?” or a “can I help you with something” etc. It’s a courteous and respectful way to have a relationship.
Maybe it should be the same when talking with God.