COMMITTED to train men and women
to have minds for the Lord Jesus,
hearts for the truth, and
hands that are skilled to the task.

04.05.2023 – Screwtape Letter 4

James 3:15-17
Galatians 5:15
1 Peter 5:8-11
Luke 18:1-8
Luke 11:5-13
Matthew 4:6
Psalm 91:11-12
Mathew 6:5-13
Matthew 26:36-39
Psalm 102:1-28
Hebrews 1:1-4
2 Corinthians, Chapter 4-6
• Letter #4 introduces us to the theme of PRODUCING AN IMAGE OF GOD IN OUR MINDS’ EYE when we pray.
• C.S. Lewis reveals quite a few trap’s demonic forces are excellent at, to either altogether discourage prayers, or, if that is not possible, to lead the Patient into different kinds of prayers that “as Screwtape encourages Wormwood” prayers that are spontaneous, inward, informal, and unregularized”
• There is also another trap the demons use to distract us from effective prayers: Screwtape describes to Wormwood how to lead the patient to produce in himself a DEVOTIONAL MOOD.
• C.S. Lewis also brings to light a contentious theological question regarding the BODILY POSITION WHEN WE PRAY.
• One of the clever introductions of demonic traps C.S. Lewis is using when he quotes Samuel Coleridge’s poem entitled ‘PAINS OF SLEEP’. Screwtape mentions only some part of the poem and with it takes the whole concept of prayer OUT OF CONTEXT.
C.S. Lewis describes his perception of demons in the 1961 new Preface. He writes:
“They have two motives. The first is fear of punishment; for as totalitarian countries have their camps of torture, so my Hell contains deeper Hells, its ‘houses of correction’.
Their second motive is a kind of hunger…..their hunger is more ravenous and a fuller satisfaction is possible. There, I suggest, the stronger spirit….can really and irrevocably suck the weaker into itself…….it is for this ‘hunger’ that Satan desires all his own followers and all the sons of Eve and all the host of heaven. His dream is of the day when all shall be inside him and all that says ‘I’ can say it only through him.”
In the same paragraph 2, Screwtape quotes from Samuel Coleridge’s poem “Pains of Sleep”.
Comparing lines 3, 5 and 9 with lines 14-15 of the poem, we quickly find out that Screwtape misrepresents Coleridge.
1. Ere on my bed my limbs I lay,
2. It hath not been my use to pray
3. With moving lips or bended knees;
4. But silently, by slow degrees,
5. My spirit I to Love compose,
6. In humble trust mine eye-lids close,
7. With reverential resignation,
8. No wish conceived, no thought expressed,
9. Only a sense of supplication;
10. A send over all my soul impressed,
11. That I am weak, yet no unblessed,
12. Since in me, round me, everywhere
13. Eternal Strength and Wisdom are.
In his “Letters to Malcom”
“I am not quite such a purist in this matter as I used to be. For many years after my conversion, I never used any ready-made forms except the Lord’s prayer…..the choice between ready-made prayer and one’s own words is less important for me than it apparently is for you. For me words are in any case secondary. They are only the anchor…….It does not matter very much who first put them together. If they are our own words, they will soon, by unavoidable repetition, harden into a formula. If they are someone