Several years ago, I started reading "The Screwtape Letters," a novel by C.S. Lewis that is composed of a series of letters from a demon named Screwtape to his nephew, Wormwood. In the novel, Screwtape gives advice to Wormwood about undermining faith and promoting sin. It is not an easy read and I gave up on it. I think I should try to read it again because I think it could give me more insight on what is going on in my life more than any self-help book possibly could.
About a month ago, I was texting back and forth with my wife and she sent me a text. It said something to the effect of, "The devil works overtime on getting to you." The statement caused me to pause and reflect on my life the last few years and I believe God gave me the grace to catch a glimpse of the spiritual warfare that is going on for my soul. The exciting part of this grace is being able to realize that the devil may be putting in overtime on getting my soul but God is working even harder keeping it.
When I say, God's given me a glimpse at the spiritual warfare it has not been I've watched a great battle between legions of angels and demons. It is not a sideline view of Gettysburg taking place in the cosmos. It is more like a realization of the supernatural battle that is going on around me. By that, I mean, I have seen temptations to sin being presented to me and walked towards those temptations. Then obstacles were placed in front of me that prevented me to succumb to those temptations.
If it had occurred one time, I would have chalked it up to circumstances. Twice would have been a coincidence. I saw it repeatedly happen to me though. It was enough that I was struck by how often it was occurring to me.
I sure a theologian would say something to the effect that God may give us graces to make decisions not to sin but He would not present physical obstacles to them because He gives us free will. To this, I would present the counter argument; I literally gave God permission to remove these obstacles.
Several years ago, I learned a prayer from Mark Hart, a catholic youth speaker and I have been repeating this prayer for the last couple of months. The prayer goes something like this, "Lord, I grant you permission, to remove anyone, or anything, that keeps me from you."
This is a very powerful prayer. It is a very difficult prayer to say too. You may think it's a easy prayer. After all, we ask God in different prayers, "not my will, but Your will be done" or "lead us not into temptation" but this is different. In this prayer, you are giving power over to God. You are asking Him to remove something from your life that is already there.
I encourage you to include this prayer into your repertoire of prayers. I say we cause Uncle Screwtape to work double time.
Zōjō-ji [temple] in Shiba
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