C. S. Lewis was a man of prayer. He prayed regularly in chapel, in church, and whenever or wherever he could. One of the most important things to him about prayer was his desire to deal with God as he really is, “as he knows himself to be.” He hated the froth or “static” – the noise one would hear on the radio in those days – of false concepts or motives that divert us toward a different god, a god of our own minds.
He wrote a good deal about how we can get past the froth of our own minds into God’s “real” presence. One of the things we need to do is to give thanks. As he writes in the eleventh chapter of Miracles, when we give thanks, we are looking beyond our own cares and concerns to him, the fount of all good. We attribute to him goodness, we recognize and honour his providence, and we recollect his abounding mercy toward us. And this focus on what has proceeded from him to us helps us in a variety of ways to pray.
For one thing, if we humble ourselves and set before our minds these true and good qualities of God, we are thinking truly about him. We are never perfectly correct in our thoughts of him, of course, but we can be truer than we have been. And the more he is exalted in our thinking, the closer we are to dealing with him as he knows himself to be.
Also – as he writes in Letters to Malcolm – our thanksgiving helps us to differentiate between the gifts and the Giver. We recognize that the blessings we have in this life are not God himself, but “expositions of his glory.” (p. 90 Fontana pb). We observe and experience our blessings. But, if we exercise thanksgiving, we recognize the divine glory attending the blessings, and move our attention and experience on beyond the tangible to the Person revealed by them. The experience of blessing thus turns to prayer with the humbling sense that we are – however much removed – in the presence of God. Thus each experience of pleasure can be a step upward to the prayer of adoration.
“In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (I Thess. 5:18). Everything – the least encounter with goodness – can be turned into adoration via thanksgiving. Thanksgiving helps us to “pray always.” It helps us to become a worshiping people. It helps us to walk with God.Feel free to share this post