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Unformatted text preview: about his prayers for his mother it "proved
singularly unfortunate". That is not the sort of thing that a nephew should write to his uncle—nor a junior tempter to the
under-secretary of a department. It also reveals an unpleasant desire to shift responsibility; you must learn to pay for
your own blunders.
The best thing, where it is possible, is to keep the patient from the serious intention of praying altogether. When the
patient is an adult recently re-converted to the Enemy's party, like your man, this is best done by encouraging him to
remember, or to think he remembers, the parrot-like nature of his prayers in childhood. In reaction against that, he may
be persuaded to aim at something entirely spontaneous, inward, informal, and unregularised; and what this will actually
mean to a beginner will be an effort to produce in himself a vaguely devotional mood in which real concentration of
will and intelligence have no part. One of their poets, Coleridge, has recorded that he did not pray "with moving lips
and bended knees" but merely "composed his spirit to love" and indulged "a sense of supplication". That is exactly the
sort of prayer we want; and since it bears a superficial resemblance to the prayer of silence as practised by those who
are very far advanced in the Enemy's service, clever and lazy patients can be taken in by it for quite a long time. At the
very least, they can be persuaded that the bodily position makes no difference to their prayers; for they constantly
forget, what you must always remember, that they are animals and that whatever their bodies do affects their souls. It is
funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds: in reality our best work is done by keeping
If this fails, you must fall back on a subtler misdirection of his intention. Whenever they are attending to the Enemy
Himself we are defeated, but there are ways of preventing them from doing so. The simplest is to turn their gaze away
from Him towards themselves. Keep them watching their own minds and trying to produce feelings there by the action
of their own wills. When they meant to ask Him for charity, let them, instead, start trying to manufacture charitable
feelings for themselves and not notice that this is what they are doing. When they meant to pray for courage, let them
really be trying to feel brave. When they say they are praying for forgiveness, let them be trying to feel forgiven. Teach
them to estimate the value of each prayer by their success in producing the desired feeling; and never let them suspect
how much success or failure of that kind depends on whether they are well or ill, fresh or tired, at the moment.
But of course the Enemy will not meantime be idle. Wherever there is prayer, there is danger of His own immediate
action. He is cynically indifferent to the dignity of His position, and ours, as pure spirits, and to human animals on their
knees He pours out self-knowled...
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This note was uploaded on 02/07/2014 for the course MIS 304 taught by Professor Mejias during the Spring '07 term at University of Arizona- Tucson.
- Spring '07