Letters 19-22
Letters 19-22 E-mail

Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer

Letters 19-22

Letter 19

  1. Do you agree with Lewis that prayers of adoration are best done communally? What does participation with a group add to the prayer?



  2. Why has Lewis written little about Holy Communion?



  3. How does Lewis define magic? What value does the magical element play in Christianity?



  4. What is Christianity reduced to if this magical element is stripped away?




    Letter 20

  5. What was Lewis's good news? What attitude or behavior have you spent many years and/or prayers trying to change?



  6. What reasons does Lewis offer in defense of praying for the dead? Do you agree/disagree?



  7. Summarize Lewis's view of purgatory. How does it differ from the traditional Roman Catholic view? From the Protestant view?



  8. According to Lewis, what is the relationship between prayer and eternity?




    Letter 21

  9. In a moment of transparency, Lewis admits, "prayer is irksome." How does he characterize the irksomeness? Can you identify with this experience?



  10. To what does Lewis attribute the "backwardness in prayer"?



  11. How is prayer like a duty?



  12. What does Lewis mean by "our worst prayers may really be, in God's eyes, our best"?




    Letter 22

  13. According to Lewis, what were the "liberal Christians" trying to do? How did he respond to their criticism?



  14. What would Lewis do if hypothetically there were no heaven and God's side loses in the end?



  15. How is memory a type of resurrection?



  16. What role does matter play in the resurrection?



  17. How does this chapter affect your view of heaven, if at all?

 

"Guesses, of course, only guesses.  If they are not true, something better will be."
Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer, ch. 22

 

 

Notes:

koinwnia [Ltr 19]: koinonia (Greek) means close fellowship

favete linguis [Ltr 19]: (Latin) with silence favor me

Purgatory [Ltr 20]: teaching of the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches that there is a place where souls that have not attained a state of perfection must undergo penal and purifying suffering prior to entering heaven.  The time period may be long or short depending on the condition of the individual.  Gifts to the church, prayers, and Masses provided by friends and family can shorten the time in purgatory.

            Protestant churches reject this teaching because does not come from the Bible, but rather from the Apocrypha (see 2 Maccabees 12:39-45).  It also contradicts the New Testament teaching that salvation is by grace alone and that Christ -- not gifts or masses -- cleanses us from all sin (see Galatians 3:1-14; Ephesians 2:8,9; 1 John 1:7). 

From the Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, ed. Walter A. Elwell, Baker Book House, 1984.  This short definition is provided as a convenience and due to brevity may not accurately represent the concept.  For more information on Lewis's views on Purgatory and the Eucharist, read Joseph Pearce's C.S. Lewis and the Catholic Church, Ignatius, 2003.

Charles Williams (1886-1945) [Ltr 21]: author, personal friend of C.S. Lewis, and fellow Inkling.  He worked for Oxford University Press on some of Lewis's manuscripts.  Lewis dedicated A Preface to Paradise Lost to Charles Williams.  Although Lewis viewed Williams as a mentor, Williams' works did not attain the popularity of Lewis's or Tolkien's.  Lewis took Williams' sudden death in 1945 hard; he wrote and published a poem "On the Death of Charles Williams" to honor his friend.

Undines [Ltr 22]: a mythological water nymph that was said to gain a soul by marrying a human and bearing his child

© 2007 Allyson Wieland