Tag Archives | CS Lewis

prayer in the desert {day #14}

“…it is during such trough periods, much more than during the peak periods, that it is growing into the sort of creature He wants it to be. Hence the prayers offered in the state of dryness are those which please Him best.”

CS Lewis The Screwtape Letters {ch.8}

in this letter from Screwtape, the devil uncle writes to his nephew about how sometimes believers go through dry periods in their relationship with God when it seems like He is being really quiet. God seems really far away. it’s really hard to pray during these times. there can be a lot of distractions during these desert times or “trough” times. during “peak” times or mountain top experiences, it’s really easy to see God working and to talk to Him and to be in constant prayer. but in “trough” times it’s really hard.

but like the little imaginary devil writes, “during such trough periods… [we, Christians]  are growing into the sort of [person] He wants [us] to be.”  God uses those dry times. He is calling us to a deeper faith. and it is during these times that even though it may be the hardest to pray, it is the most essential time to pray.

it is an act of obedience to pray during these times. it takes faith to pray during these times. sometimes it is during these desert times that we are most afflicted with temptations and hard times. Screwtape is writing to his nephew Wormwood to teach him how to be a better tempter. He is training him about how to tempt his Christian away from the faith.  Screwtape says,

“Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.”

CS Lewis The Screwtape Letters {ch.8}

prayer in the desert is dangerous and beautiful obedience.

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simple pleasures {part 2}

“Let him do anything but act. No amount of piety in his imagination and affections will harm us if we can keep it out of his will. As one of the humans has said, active habits are strengthened by repetition but passive ones are weaked. The more often he feels without acting, the less he will be able to ever act, and, in the long run, the less he will be able to feel.”

C.S. Lewis The Screwtape Letters {pg.67}

 i can’t stop thinking about this chapter in Screwtape.

to me, this chapter is talking about how God gives us pleasure purely to draw us back to HIM. pleasures are gifts that bring us closer to God. but there is a difference to think about going back to God by taking pleasures in the gifts, and actually doing it.

sometimes godly pleasure can be something as simple as taking a walk in the woods and realizing how beautiful it is. it makes you say a little prayer of thanks. it opens your heart to God.

or it could be something as simple as drinking your morning tea on the porch, with sunlight on your face. you sigh and realize how beautiful life is. maybe it’s even while you open your bible.

simple pleasure is like that. remember, i just talked about it here. simple pleasures are gifts that open our hearts up to seeing with wonder, with new eyes, the things that are around us that are directly from HIM.

one of my “simple pleasures”  that usually draws me closer to God is painting, drawing, or any form of art. 🙂 it’s may sound silly, but that little act of creating something opens up my heart and my eyes. it brings peace to my soul, kind of like writing in a journal, it pours out my heart.

but there is another part of this chapter in C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape – the elder devil is teaching the novice devil that if they can make their “patient” (the person they are trying to tempt) abandon the simple pleasures that draw him towards God for the things that he “should” like or for the things that are culturally correct; then the little devil can draw their patient slowly further away from God. if he can make his patient think the pleasure is “unimportant”, “uncool”or “not good enough” then those thoughts can distract him from a true gift from God!

yikes! this made me realize that sometimes i think my art is “unimportant” so i put it off. or i get embarrassed that my art isn’t very refined. it’s not really that good. so i just keep putting it off… i’ll get to it another day.

but then i just get more disappointed in myself. i get dry. my soul gets dry, like when i haven’t had a quiet time in a while. like when i haven’t been out in nature in a while. my heart goes dry when i avoid these things!

these simple pleasures, that i can count on my fingers, bring me closer to God. YET- somehow, i find ways to put it off, to avoid it, to be embarrassed by it, to think it’s not important… when really… that’s the opposite of what i should do.

those simple pleasures ARE GIFTS FROM GOD.  and it makes me sad that i’m putting it off. or thinking art as unimportant. or thinking that i should really do something productive instead of going for a walk. or thinking that i really don’t have time for meeting with a friend.

but…GOD gave me a passion for art! for nature. for mountains. for people. for growing closer to HIM.

for example, usually {when i’m not focused on myself} art brings me closer to God because of the passion He gave me for it. So why should i be ashamed that my art  isn’t good enough when HE gave me that passion?

Why should I think that taking a walk in a forest isn’t the.most.important.thing. i could today if it could bring me closer to God through the prayer i would surely utter because of the awe that opens up in my heart?

and i can sit here and think about it all day. talk about it and even preach to you all about it.

but it means nothing if i don’t act on it.

that older, “wiser” devil says to the younger, “Let him do anything but act…

we, humans, are funny like that. we can talk the talk… but how often do we actually get our butt off the couch and do it??

but why does that wiser tempter say that? because he knows us… he knows that when humans become apathetic and un-passionate, we miss out on seeing God. we get lost in our own thoughts and our eyes close to the wonder of HIM working around us. if we stop soaking up simple pleasures, seeing God in the creativity of the wilderness or in the peace of a quiet moment painting or in the grandeur of a hike in the mountains or in the sound of the ocean crashing… then our hearts become hard.

and then the rest of that sentence “…the less he will be able to feel.”

that just cuts to the core of it, right? when we become apathetic or lazy in seeking out the pleasures and gifts from God we then loose our passion. our feeling. our very heart and soul.

oh simple pleasures are a gift, from OUR GOD, my friends! how many times do i have to say that? don’t be embarrassed by them. don’t avoid seeing God through them.

oh man. this afternoon, i think i’m going to go work on that painting and maybe later go for a walk on the beach with Husbuddy… and just soak up the gift that they are – instead of trying to rush through them to the next thing on my to do list.

what are simple pleasures in your life, right now? how do you take a moment to enjoy them as a gift?? i’d really love to hear from you!

xo-kimberly renee.

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a quote for today

“If we let Him…He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess, a dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine, a bright stainless  mirror which reflects back to God perfectly, (though, of course, on a smaller scale) His own boundless power and delight and goodness. The process will be long and in parts very painful; but that is what we are in for. Nothing less.”

CS Lewis- Mere Christianity.

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