Screwtape Letters: Prayer "The Best Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Instead, holiness is attained through right-mindedness and a right heart. You say that the body affects the mind -- and indeed it does. But no longer is an obsession with bodily attributes, such as food, drink, and adherence to the laws of Leviticus (including circumcision) that connects us to God.

"Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, 'Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside a man can make him 'unclean' by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him 'unclean.'" (Mark 7:14-15). I do indeed agree that religiosity cannot be found in rote prayers, learned in childhood, or be encompassed by a vague sense of spirituality that does not take into consideration Christ's sacrifice. On the subject of prayer, I can only say that I pray daily -- both in the conventional manner in which you seem to think is 'correct,' with a posture of supplication and the words of scripture -- but also when I am engaged in daily activities.

I agree that a humble position is best for prayer. But it is not the humility of my posture that proves my holiness, rather it is that I am all too aware of my imperfection, my sinfulness, and my need for God's sanctification that I fall upon my knees. The impulse to pray comes from within, not because I am told to do so. My moving lips and bended knees are the result of my supplication, but even in moments when I am not able to take such a reverent, devotional posture, I still consecrate my life to the divine. What occurs during prayer cannot be manufactured or willed; rather it comes from openness to God, and a surrender of a human intellect that is too feeble to understand the higher truths of creation.

You call prayer an act of concentration and will -- all human beings do indeed have freedom of the will to choose righteousness. And at times it can take a mighty act of concentration to ignore the demands of the human body, and put the cares of the world aside to pray. It is tempting in prayer to focus upon earthly images that the human mind can understand, or to check off prayer as a duty on one's 'to do' list without honoring it as significant. But it is only in the act of mindful prayer that human beings become in touch with all that is important in the world. The physicality of the act, the language, the ritual is a way of letting go of the ego and the mind; it is not an end in itself. Yours truly, the Patient

Work Cited October 26, 2010.

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Work Cited October 26, 2010.

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