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Praying Beyond Words

A Recommendation

When a friend recommended the book, Letters to Malcom, I was pumped to read something new from the inspired mind of C.S. Lewis, author of The Chronicles of Narnia. Goodness know I love the fantastical and spiritually reflective world of Narnia, and this iconic author would surely not disappoint.

But this invitation was more personal than either my friend or I could have predicted. In fact, I’m convinced God spoke to her heart–I’m thankful she was obedient to the nudge.

I wasted no time purchasing my first Audible book, and simultaneously began the process of painting my office also known as Jenn’s Closet.

Multi-Tasking in My Closet

Paint brush in motion (gray paint paired with Property Brother’s grass cloth wallpaper–Yes! I love it!), I began listening to distinguished British accents breathe life into C.S. Lewis’ fictional letters between friends on the subject of prayer.

I quickly realized that C.S. Lewis is quite the mental giant, as his cerebral stream of convictions, coupled with the ornate accents, flew past my own intellectual capabilities (I used bigger words in the last sentence just to give a feel for my experience–but I still can’t do it justice).

My multi-tasking did not serve me well, but I charged on. I found myself questioning if my literary abilities are better suited for the books Lewis wrote for adolescents. No question, let me return to the world of Aslan and Lucy; please.

Then through the haze of exchange on achieving more meaningful prayer, Lewis said something that required putting down my dripping paint brush and hitting rewind.

Excuse Me Mr. Lewis, Did I Hear You Correctly?

“. . . prayer without words is the best–if only one can really achieve it.” I had never heard a sentiment of this type regarding prayer, but I have personally experienced prayer without words. So, I eagerly listened and re-listened to this narrative between friends.

To have the notable C.S. Lewis express this idea caused greater reflection on my personal journey. Perhaps his words instilled greater confidence, even helping define my experiences– experiences I’ve rarely if ever expressed to others.

“Prayer without words is the best–if only one can really achieve it.”

Letters to Malcom, C.S.Lewis

All of Me

Praying beyond words may seem like an idea of mysticism, but for me it has become a foundation and home for prayer. Like unlocking the quaint wooden door to a a cozy dwelling, I envision the home of Tumnus with a squatty stone fireplace, woven rugs, and calming earth tones . . . a place I feel at home. The chaos of regular life quieted, if only for a few moments, as the real Jenn rests in the presence of a real God.

The experience of mentally approaching the One I call Father with more of who I truly am, has been a key to transforming the world as I experience it through Him.

Breaking the formality, layers, and rules previously carried into my personal prayers allows space for a more natural flow of my heart. A more holistic approach of prayer prevents me from becoming stagnate and frankly worn out from laboring to acquire just the right phrases in my appeals to God. Instead of laboring hard to grab buckets of words and pour them out to my Creator, I am able to push to the deeper well of my heart and mind.

My love and admiration grows as I genuinely lay it all at His feet. My emotions, mental images, and of course words, are not too unruly, raw, or creative for God. He is big enough to handle all of me.

We use so much of ourselves in every other relationship and experience of life, so why bridle the deeper parts of who we are with God?

CS Lewis Quote on Prayer

Golden Opportunities

Within His own unique and unfathomable design, our Father crafts each child into a uniquely amazing being. Our quirks, creativities, that big bundle of you . . .

It seems that we unintentionally place Him in such a narrow box, thinking our communication and relationship with Him must be robotic, stilted, and even ceremonial. All one must do is see the vast array of humanity and the beautiful assortment of nature to realize that He is simply not a cookie-cutter God.

In removing the obstacles and formalities of words, I find greater comfort, quiet, and frankly, effectiveness in my moments with God.

Here is the most exciting part . . .  I find that in this less complicated place of prayer, the Creator whispers to my heart beyond words, and that is simply golden.

If nothing else, I hope my candidness opens your mind to the possibilities–the what could be.

I am thankful for precious friends who allow me access into their closets, inspiring me to consider and explore new potentials in my journey of faith. I hope in sharing this personal part of Jenn’s Closet, that I have been a friend to you.

Praying Beyond Words Reflection: A Glance in the Mirror

  1. Have you ever found yourself struggling to find the right words or “reverence” in your prayers?
  2. How does the idea of praying beyond words feel either freeing or challenging to you?

If you have prayed beyond words, or you have a question or comment, I would love to hear from you. Subscribe or E-mail me directly at jenn@1stfaith.com. 

Click here to learn more about my story. Thanks for visiting my closet!

Be Well & Love Always – 

Jenn Walden Signature for Jenn's Closet

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