Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer [NOOK Book]

Overview

"We want to know not how we should pray if we were perfect but how we should pray being as we now are."

What are we doing when we pray? What is at the heart of this most intimate conversation, the dialogue between a person and God? How does prayer—its form, its regularity, its content, its insistence—shape who we are and how we believe? In this collection of letters from C. S. Lewis to a close friend, Malcolm, we see an intimate side of Lewis ...

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Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer

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Overview

"We want to know not how we should pray if we were perfect but how we should pray being as we now are."

What are we doing when we pray? What is at the heart of this most intimate conversation, the dialogue between a person and God? How does prayer—its form, its regularity, its content, its insistence—shape who we are and how we believe? In this collection of letters from C. S. Lewis to a close friend, Malcolm, we see an intimate side of Lewis as he considers all aspects of prayer and how this singular ritual impacts the lives and souls of the faithful. With depth, wit, and intelligence, as well as his sincere sense of a continued spiritual journey, Lewis brings us closer to understanding the role of prayer in our lives and the ways in which we might better imagine our relationship with God.

"A beautifully executed and deeply moving little book." —Saturday Review

"[Lewis] is writing about a path that he had to find, and the reader feels not so much that he is listening to what C.S. Lewis has to say but that he is making his own search with a humorous, sensible friend beside him." —Times Literary Supplement

C. S. (Clive Staples) Lewis (1898-1963), one of the great writers of the twentieth century, also continues to be one of our most influential Christian thinkers. He wrote more than thirty books, both popular and scholarly, including The Chronicles of Narnia series, The Screwtape Letters, The Four Loves, Mere Christianity, and Surprised by Joy.


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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A beautifully executed and deeply moving little book." —Saturday Review

"[Lewis] is writing about a path that he had to find, and the reader feels not so much that he is listening to what C.S. Lewis has to say but that he is making his own search with a humorous, sensible friend beside him. That is writing that requires great literary skill … That this should be the last book that we shall have from C. S. Lewis is a matter of genuine regret."—Times Literary Supplement

"The unbeliever is likely to enjoy the book most for its shrewd asides…Opinions of this kind are expressed with the admirable directness and simplicity which characterized the style of this often indirect and highly complex man."—New Statesman

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547541396
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 11/4/2002
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 132
  • Sales rank: 286,357
  • File size: 429 KB

Meet the Author

C. S. (Clive Staples) Lewis (1898-1963), one of the great writers of the twentieth century, also continues to be one of our most influential Christian thinkers. A Fellow and tutor at Oxford until 1954, he spent the rest of his career as Chair of Medieval and Renaissance English at Cambridge. He wrote more than thirty books, both popular and scholarly, inlcuding The Chronicles of Narnia series, The Screwtape Letters, The Four Loves, Mere Christianity and Surprised by Joy.

Biography

C. S. Lewis was famous both as a fiction writer and as a Christian thinker, and his biographers and critics sometimes divide his personality in two: the storyteller and the moral educator, the "dreamer" and the "mentor." Yet a large part of Lewis's appeal, for both his audiences, lay in his ability to fuse imagination with instruction. "Let the pictures tell you their own moral," he once advised writers of children's stories. "But if they don't show you any moral, don't put one in. ... The only moral that is of any value is that which arises inevitably from the whole cast of the author's mind."

Storytelling came naturally to Lewis, who spent the rainy days of his childhood in Ireland writing about an imaginary world he called Boxen. His first published novel, Out of the Silent Planet, tells the story of a journey to Mars; its hero was loosely modeled on his friend and fellow Cambridge scholar J.R.R. Tolkien. Lewis enjoyed some popularity for his Space Trilogy (which continues in Perelandra and That Hideous Strength), but nothing compared to that which greeted his next imaginative journey, to an invented world of fauns, dwarfs, and talking animals -- a world now familiar to millions of readers as Narnia.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the first book of the seven-volume Chronicles of Narnia, began as "a picture of a Faun carrying an umbrella and parcels in a snowy wood," according to Lewis. Years after that image first formed in his mind, others bubbled up to join it, producing what Kate Jackson, writing in Salon, called "a fascinating attempt to compress an almost druidic reverence for wild nature, Arthurian romance, Germanic folklore, the courtly poetry of Renaissance England and the fantastic beasts of Greek and Norse mythology into an entirely reimagined version of what's tritely called 'the greatest story ever told.'"

The Chronicles of Narnia was for decades the world's bestselling fantasy series for children. Although it was eventually superseded by Harry Potter, the series still holds a firm place in children's literature and the culture at large. (Narnia even crops up as a motif in Jonathan Franzen's 2001 novel The Corrections). Its last volume appeared in 1955; in that same year, Lewis published a personal account of his religious conversion in Surprised by Joy. The autobiography joined his other nonfiction books, including Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, and The Great Divorce, as an exploration of faith, joy and the meaning of human existence.

Lewis's final work of fiction, Till We Have Faces, came out in 1956. Its chilly critical reception and poor early sales disappointed Lewis, but the book's reputation has slowly grown; Lionel Adey called it the "wisest and best" of Lewis's stories for adults. Lewis continued to write about Christianity, as well as literature and literary criticism, for several more years. After his death in 1963, The New Yorker opined, "If wit and wisdom, style and scholarship are requisites to passage through the pearly gates, Mr. Lewis will be among the angels."

Good To Know

The imposing wardrobe Lewis and his brother played in as children is now in Wheaton, Illinois, at the Wade Center of Wheaton College, which also houses the world's largest collection of Lewis-related documents, according to The Christian Science Monitor.

The 1994 movie, Shadowlands, based on the play of the same name, cast Anthony Hopkins as Lewis. It tells the story of his friendship with, and then marriage to, an American divorcee named Joy Davidman (played by Debra Winger), who died of cancer four years after their marriage. Lewis's own book about coping with that loss, A Grief Observed, was initially published under the pseudonym N. W. Clerk.

Several poems, stories, and a novel fragment published after Lewis's death have come under scrutiny as possible forgeries. On one side of the controversy is Walter Hooper, a trustee of Lewis's estate and editor of most of his posthumous works; on the other is Kathryn Lindskoog, a Lewis scholar who began publicizing her suspicions in 1988. Scandal or kooky conspiracy theory? The verdict's still out among readers.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Clive Staples Lewis (real name); Clive Hamilton, N.W. Clerk, Nat Whilk; called "Jack" by his friends
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 29, 1898
    2. Place of Birth:
      Belfast, Nothern Ireland
    1. Date of Death:
      November 22, 1963
    2. Place of Death:
      Headington, England

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 20, 2010

    C.S. Lewis on Prayer

    I am a long time C.S. Lewis fan, but somehow I missed reading this book over the years. I enjoyed this book immensely and found it both inspiring and entertaining. Lewis used his characteristic wit and down to earth manner to explain his views on prayer. His conversational tone made it easy to read and understand.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Refreshing

    This book is very refreshing. I found myself reading long passages to friends who seemed as encouraged as I was at what Lewis wrote.
    Lewis writes from the "blue-collar" view. He expresses his own difficulties and gives fresh perspectives. I found it very encouraging and , yes, it has helped my prayer life.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2003

    Lewis' Belief in Purgatory Revealed

    C.S. Lewis here reveals great insights into the life of prayer. This window into his soul reveals a man who centered his life on Jesus Christ and on converting his heart more and more to the Heart of the Redeemer. This belief in conversion culminated in his belief that 'our souls demand purgatory.' This is a beautiful testimony to Lewis and shows his confident trust in the one who created him and called him to Himself. So many know Lewis the apologist, this book introduces one to Lewis in the depths of his heart.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2002

    Thought Provoking!

    C.S. Lewis, born in Ireland and educated at Oxford, has written over 30 books, including science fiction and children¿s tales. He converted to Christianity in the early 1930s, and many of his writings are strongly flavored by his Christian beliefs. In Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer, C.S. Lewis gives us a glimpse into his musings on communication between man and God. Not a traditional book, but instead in the form of a collection of correspondence from Lewis to a fictitious friend Malcolm, Letters allows us to be incredibly intimate with Lewis, and to use his thoughts as a springboard for our own. Lewis remarks, ¿¿ however badly needed a good book on prayer is, I shall never try to write it.¿ He did not try to write a good book on prayer, but none the less, this is exactly what we have. A book full of images, meaning and impressions that allow us to try to expand our own thinking on something that we often do without any recollection. Recommended for adults who are exploring their faith and looking for a challenging read. Give it as a gift to a loved one or as a gift to yourself, to help you examine your own prayer habits.

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    Posted November 12, 2008

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    Posted June 24, 2011

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    Posted July 17, 2009

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    Posted July 26, 2010

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    Posted January 18, 2011

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