Prayer is an important part of the Christian life. But role does it play? Does prayer accomplish anything or is it just a religious duty?
No one has all the answers, but C.S. Lewis, like with all topics, is able to get to the heart of the matter. I appreciated his comments in this reflection on prayer. This is taken from “The Efficacy of Prayer” from The World’s Last Night and Other Essays.
The very question “Does prayer work?” puts us in the wrong frame of mind from the outset. “Work”: as if it were magic, or a machine⏤something that functions automatically. Prayer is either a sheer illusion or a personal contact between embryonic, incomplete persons (ourselves) and the utterly concrete Person. Prayer in the sense of petition, asking for things, is a small part of it; confession and penitence are its threshold, adorations its sanctuary, the presence and vision and enjoyment of God its bread and wine. In it God shows Himself to us. That He answers prayers is a corollary⏤not necessarily the most important one⏤from that revelation. What he does is learned from what He is.