The Worship Quote of the Week for (09/28/2004):

Hard Prayers
Praying with Christian charity is not always easy. Today’s WORSHIP QUOTE is from the pen of C. S. Lewis.

The practical problem about charity (in one’s prayer) is very hard work, isn’t it? When you pray for Hitler and Stalin, how do you actually teach yourself to make the prayer real? The two things that help me are (a) A continual grasp of the idea that one is only joining one’s feeble little voice to the perpetual intercession of Christ who died for these very men. (b) A recollection, as firm as I can make it, of all one’s own cruelty; which might have blossomed under different conditions into something terrible. You and I are not at bottom so different from these ghastly creatures.

— C. S. Lewis, from THE QUOTABLE LEWIS, edited by Wayne Martindale and Jerry Roost (Wheaton: Tyndale House, 1989), 491. As collected in BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTH: PRAYERS AND REFLECTIONS THAT CELEBRATE AN INTIMATE GOD, compiled and edited by Ken Gire (New York: HarperCollins, 1997), 106. ISBN 0-06-063046-9

[Is this hard medicine to swallow? Take a look at how Jesus addressed the question of praying for our enemies—Matthew 5:43-48. Paul, too, saw one of the marks of the true Christian to be the willingness (maybe even the eagerness) to “bless those who persecute you” (Rom. 12:14-21). Lord, help your people to pray as we should. Amen.]

Have a great week,

Chip Stam
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Music and Worship
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Louisville, Kentucky

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