3/1/48Dear Miss Bodle –
I v. much doubt if I’m good enough at prayer myself to advise others. First thing in the morning and last thing at night are good times but I don’t find that they are the best times for one’s main prayer. I prefer sometime in the early evening, before one has got sleepy – but of course it depends on how your day is mapped out.
‘Grudging’ tho’ a nuisance need not depress us too much. It is the act of will (perhaps strongest where there is some disinclination to contend against) that God values, rather than the state emotions – the act being what we give Him, the emotions what He gives us (usually, I think, indirectly thro’ the state of our body, health etc., tho’ there are direct kindlings from Him too. There are presents, to be given thanks for but never counted on).
Of course it is very difficult to keep God only before one for more than a few seconds. Our minds are in ruins before we bring them to Him & the rebuilding is gradual. It may help to practice concentration on other objects twice a week quite apart from one’s prayer: i.e. sit down looking at some physical object (say, a flower) and try for a few minutes to attend exclusively to it, quietly (never impatiently) rejecting the train of thought & imagination wh. keep starting up. All good wishes.
C. S. Lewis