Letters 1-3
Letters 1-3 E-mail

Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer

Letters 1-3

Letter 1

  1. What, in Lewis's opinion, is the perfect church service?

  2. What dangers does Lewis see in "novelty"?

  3. What is the role of the layman (i.e. non-clergy, those of us in the pews)?   Do you agree?

  4. In this letter, Lewis is addressing changes to the Anglican liturgy.  Two developments currently prompting debate in many American Protestant churches involve music styles and gender-inclusive Bible translations.  Based on Lewis's comments to Malcolm, how do you imagine Lewis would respond to today's controversial topics?

  5. What two purposes for revising the liturgy does Lewis mention?  What dangers does Lewis foresee in revising the liturgy?

  6. What are the two signs indicating that the right moment for change has arrived?


    Letter 2

  7. What are "ready-made" prayers?

  8. What does Lewis mean when he says, "Heaven will display far more variety than Hell"?

  9. What does Lewis observe about praying without words?

    Praying with your own words?

    Praying with words written by other people?

  10. For further reflection, read Jesus' prayer in John 17 and Paul's prayers in Ephesians 1:15-19a, Ephesians 3:14-21 and Philippians 1:9-11.  Notice the type of requests expressed in these prayers.  How are they similar to or different from the petitions you bring to God?

    Letter 3

  11. When is the worse time for prayer according to Lewis?  What time works best for  you?

  12. Where is the worse place for prayer in Lewis's experience? What place works best for you?

  13. How does Lewis feel about kneeling?  Do you agree?

  14. What do you think about Lewis's casualness about remembering names? Does this seem negligent or freeing to you?


Lewis's grandfather [Ltr 2]: Lewis's maternal grandfather, Reverend Thomas Hamilton, was the rector of St. Mark's Church in Dundela, Northern Ireland.

Rose McCauley (1881-1958) [Ltr 1 & 2]: British novelist

Imitation [Ltr 2]: refers to Thomas `a Kempis' (1380-1471) devotional classic The Imitation of Christ.

Manichaeism [Ltr 3]: a dualistic religion created in the 3rd century by Mani, a Persian philosopher.  Considered heresy by the western Christian church.

© 2007 Allyson Wieland