C.S. Lewis is one of the most famous Christian writers of all time. While he’s mostly known for his fictional series, The Chronicles of Narnia, his commentary about the Christian life is found throughout all of his works. His insights on prayer appear in numerous places, and they truly apply to our lives today, both for how we relate to God and how we relate to others.
Lewis really believed that God intended for our prayers to change both important and seemingly trivial matters in the world, even as God retained His sovereignty over all. He also believed that a consistent prayer life will change the person who prayers, making him or her more humble, more bold, and more loving.
In other words, Lewis believed, and rightfully so, that prayer changes us for the better. Here is an assortment of C.S. Lewis quotes on prayer that are sure to help you see into the heart of this man and hopefully develop your insight into God as well.
A Collection of C.S. Lewis’ Quotes About Prayer
1. “It may be a mystery why He should have allowed us to cause real events at all, but it is no odder that He should allow us to cause them by praying than by any other method.”
2. “God has left Himself discretionary power. Had He not done so, prayer would be an activity too dangerous for man.”
3. “I fully agree that the relationship between God and a man is more private and intimate than any possible relation between two fellow creatures. Yes, but at the same time there is, in another way, a greater distance between the participants.
4. “A few formal, ready-made, prayers serve me as a corrective of – well, let’s call it ‘cheek.’ “
5. “It is much easier to pray for a bore than to go visit him.” – from Letters to Malcolm
6. “Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done.”
7. “For most of us the prayer in Gethsemane is the only model. Removing mountains can wait.”
8. “Meantime, however, we want to know not how we should pray if we were perfect but how we should pray being as we now are. And if my idea of prayer as “unveiling” is accepted, we have already answered this. It is no use to ask God with factitious earnestness for A when our whole mind is in reality filled with the desire for B. We must lay before Him what is in us, not what ought to be in us.”
9. “A concentrated mind and a sitting body make for better prayer than a kneeling body and a mind half asleep.”
10. “For prayer is request. The essence of request, as distinct from compulsion, is that it may or may not be granted.”
11. “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” – from The Weight of Glory
12. “A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.”
13. “You can’t know, you can only believe—or not.” – from Voyage of the Dawn Treader
14. “If God had granted all the silly prayers I’ve made in my life, where should I be now?” – from Letters to Malcolm
15. “I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God. It changes me.”
16. “A clergyman once said to me that a railway compartment, if one has it to oneself, is an extremely good place to pray in ‘because there is just the right amount of distraction.’ When I asked him to explain, he said that perfect silence and solitude left one more open to the distractions which come from within, and that moderate amount of external distraction was easier to cope with.” – from Letters to Malcolm
17. “A man can’t be always defending the truth; there must be a time to feed on it.” – from Reflections on the Psalms
18. “We have long since agreed that if our prayers are granted at all they are granted from the foundation of the world. God and His acts are not in time. Intercourse between God and man occurs at particular moments for the man, but not for God.”
19. “He has infinite attention to spare for each one of us. He does not have to deal with us in the mass. You are as much alone with Him as if you were the only being He had ever created.” – from Mere Christianity
20. “Almost certainly God is not in Time. His life does not consist of moments following one another. If a million people are praying to Him at ten-thirty tonight, He need not listen to them all in that one little snippet which we call ten-thirty. Ten-thirty –and every other moment from the beginning of the world– is always the Present for Him. If you like to put it that way, He has all eternity in which to listen to the split second of prayer put up by a pilot as his plane crashed in flames.”
21. “What I mean is this. An ordinary simple Christian kneels down to say his prayers. He is trying to get into touch with God. But if he is a Christian he knows that what is prompting him to pray is also God: God, so to speak, inside him. But he also knows that all his real knowledge of God comes through Christ, the Man who was God – that Christ is standing beside him, helping him to pray, praying for him. You see what is happening. God is the thing to which he is praying – the goal he is trying to reach. God is also the thing inside him which is pushing him on – the motive power. God is also the road or bridge along which he is being pushed to that goal. So that the whole threefold life of the three-personal Being is actually going on in that ordinary little bedroom where an ordinary man is saying his prayers.”
22. “We say that we believe God to be omniscient; yet a great deal of prayer seems to consist of giving him information.”
23. And, perhaps, as those who do not turn to God in petty trials will have no habit or such resort to help them when the great trials come, so those who have not learned to ask Him for childish things will have less readiness to ask Him for great ones. We must not be too high-minded. I fancy we may sometimes be deterred from small prayers by a sense of our own dignity rather than of God’s. – from Letters to Malcolm
24. I sometimes pray not for self-knowledge in general but for just so much self-knowledge at the moment as I can bear and use at the moment; the little daily dose. – from Letters to Malcolm
25. “Well, I do think someone might have arranged about our meals,” “I’m sure Aslan would have, if you’d asked him,” said [the horse]. “Wouldn’t he know without being asked?” [asked the girl]. “I’ve no doubt he would,” said the Horse (still with his mouth full). “But I’ve a sort of idea he likes to be asked.” – from The Magician’s Nephew
26. “You must picture me alone in that room in Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England.”
27. “Find an experience fully God-centered, asking of God no gift more urgently than His presence, the gift of Himself, joyous to the highest degree, and unmistakably real.”