31 Days of Praying

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Consider ...

  "Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick.  Indeed the safest road to hell is the gradual one - the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts." - Screwtape

Click On Each Day... Read the Letter and Reflect on the Questions and Scriptures

 

Day 1 - Ordinary and Reality

Mark 4:7, 18, 19  |  Ephesians 6:11-12

  • How would a preoccupation with the physical side of reality and ignorance of the spiritual be foundation for diabolical strategy?

  • In what way does the enemy use the concepts of "ordinary" and "reality" to distract you?

Day 2 - Disappointment and Hypocrisy

Luke 17:1-6  |  Matthew 7:1-5

  • How does the enemy use disappointment and hypocrisy with other Christians as a trap?

  • Consider what areas of your conduct and character you avoid, while highlighting the hypocrisy of others.

Day 3 - Family

Matthew 10:32-39

  • False spirituality can be a tool used by the enemy in our family context.  Identify how this has affected your family.

  • Even our "religious" behavior can be used to get under the skin of family members.  Are there ways that your family members might struggle with your faith and Christian conduct?

Day 4 - Empty Prayers

Matthew 6:5-14  |  Luke 11:1-6

  • Screwtape talks about misdirection in prayer.  How has the enemy used your mood, feelings, and imagination in prayer to misdirect you?

Day 5 - War and Death

Hebrews 2:14-15

  • Wormwood's primary focus was to "undermine faith and prevent formation of virtue."  What are some ways in which your faith has been attacked and your development of virtue hindered?

  • In Screwtape's scenario, why do devils prefer death in a nursing home to death during war?

Day 6 - Worry for the future

Matthew 6:25-34  Philippians 4:6-7

  • Why would the devil want us to be preoccupied with the future rather than the present?

  • Why is it the devil is more interested in our actions towards others than in our attitudes?

Day 7 - Christianity as a means

I Timothy 6:1-10  |  I John 2:15-17  |  James 4:11

  • Why would Screwtape want to make Christianity a "means" and the world a "goal"?

Day 8 - Opposing God's Intention

II Corinthians 4:7-18, 12:7-10  |  Hosea 11:1-4

  • God uses the lows of our spiritual experience as a means to do deep work in our souls.  How have the lows in your own life been used to enhance your connection with God?

  • Screwtape says God "cannot ravish. He can only woo."  What do you thinks that means?

Day 9 - Life's Phases

I Thessalonians 4:1-8  |  I Corinthians 6:12-20  Isaiah 41:10  |  Hebrews 12:1-3

  • Screwtape continues his guidance to wormwood on how to exploit "down" times.  How is it that sex and sensuality are especially powerful diabolical tools during times of darkness and depression?

  • Have you ever been tempted to give up your faith, either by denying or just ignoring it?

Day 10 - Cliques and Peer Pressure

I Corinthians 5:1-13, 15:33-34  |  II Corinthians 6:14-18

  • What social setting would be the right tool for the tempter to use on you?

  • How do you handler peer pressure that could be spiritually polluting?

Day 11 - Humor as Consolation, Excuse, and Flippancy

Ephesians 5:1-4 |  Proverbs 18:21, 26:19

  • Of the four types of humor, Screwtape prefers jokes and flippancy.  How is it that a joke can be means of justifying bad behavior?

  • How might the advice of Screwtape prefers the way you "enjoy" parties and entertainment such as music, movies, and television?

Day 12 - Spiritual Apathy and Small Sins

Ephesians 4:13-17  |  Hebrews 5:12-14, 6:12, 12:12-17

  • On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being low), how would you compare your current spiritual vitality with a year ago?  What has encouraged your spiritual growth?  What has hindered your spiritual growth?

  • Why is it valuable for Wormwood to encourage church attendance, despite its spiritual snares?

Day 13 - Pain and Pleasure

Ecclesiastes 2:1-11  |  Ecclesiastes 5:18-20, 8:10-15, 11:7-10

  • What is the difference between the detachment of self that Gods seeks, and the detachment of reality that the devil seeks?

  • What pleasures and past time do you find spiritually nourishing?

  • What fresh insight does Screwtape provide into how God works?

Day 14 - False Humility

Proverbs 15:33  |  Zephaniah 2:3  |  Colossians 2:18-23  |  Philippians 2:5-11

  • What is the true nature of humility?

  • What is God's goal for humility and all virtues?

  • What are your virtues and outstanding talents?

Day 15 - Time and Eternity

Ecclesiastes 3:11  II Corinthians 4:16 - 5:8

  • In contrast to a focus on both eternity and the present, Screwtape wants to obscure both from our sight.  How does a preoccupation with the future do just that?

  • What is it about the future that worries you?

Day 16 - Church Hopping

I Corinthians 12:4-11  |  Hebrews 10:24-25  Romans 12:6-8  |  I Peter 4:10-11

  • One church near Wormwood's patient serves up a diluted Christianity.  What does Screwtape especially like about it?

  • Another church has a minister who is a passionate protester against almost everything.  What does Screwtape especially like about this one?

  • Above all, Screwtape likes "party" churches in which members takes sides and are attached to causes.  What do you think Screwtape might like about your church?

Day 17 - Gluttony

Proverbs 23:2, 21   Hebrews 12:16, 17  |  Psalms 78:17, 31

  • We seldom think of gluttony as sin today; however, the devils do.  What's the difference between the Gluttony of Excess and the Gluttony of Delicacy?

  • Towards which type of gluttony are you inclined?

Day 18 - Sex

I Corinthians 6:12-20  I Thessalonians 4:1-8  |  I Corinthians 7:1-5  |  Proverbs 5

  • God has placed humanity in a dilemma concerning sex - either complete abstinence or unmitigated monogamy.  How do the devils seek to twist sex so that we don't live according to God's standards?

  • The devils not only twist sex, but love as well.  How have they twisted love to destroy God's intentions?

  • What do we learn about God's true intentions for sex and love from Screwtape's instructions to Wormwood?

  • How might the observations of Screwtape change the way you think about both sex and love?

Day 19 - Twisted Love

I Corinthians 13:4-8a  Jeremiah 31:3-6  |  John 13:34-35, 14:15-18  |  I John 3 & 4

  • Screwtape also reveals the basic demonic strategy, making use of anything and everything so that we are drawn away from God.  How do the devils twist love to their own purposes?

  • How have you experienced love as being both a means of drawing you to God and also a means of being pulled away from God?

Day 20 - Twisted Sexual Desires

Genesis 6:1-8  |  Proverbs 5:15-23  |  James 1:2-8, 12-15  |  Romans 1:24-32

  • Temptations lose their power as God steps in.  Why do you think God even allows temptations at all?

  • How has the demonic strategy of twisting sexual desire varied through the ages?

  • In what ways might the devils be twisting sexual desire for our time?

  • Although Screwtape doesn't mention them, how might a terrestrial and infernal Mars be tempting women?

Day 21 - Pride and Pet-peeves

I Corinthians 13:4-8 (ESV Translation)  |  Proverbs 15:18, 16:32, 10:11

Screwtape encourages Wormwood to attack his patient's, peevishness that is, getting easily irritated by unimportant and insignificant things.   

  • Why is devilish about being irritated by interruptions and intrusions on "our time"?

  • How do you response when events and people intrude on your own plans?

Day 22 - Opposite Sex and Noise

II Corinthians 6:14   Proverbs 18:22, 21:19, 31:30   Psalm 127:1  |  Psalm 46:10    I Kings 19:11-12

  • What doesn't Screwtape like about the new love of Wormwood's patient?

  • While he is on a rant, Screwtape goes after both music and silence.  How have music and silence been a means of pleasure and grace to you?   

Day 23 - Historical Jesus and Social Justice

Matthew 24:3-14   I Corinthians 15:1-19   Isaiah 1:15-27  |  Micah 6:8

  • What devilish agenda is to destroy devotional life?  How do they do that?

  • The search for the historical Jesus the Screwtape refers to is an attempt to reinvent Jesus according to the scholastic fashion off each generation.  What does Screwtape like about this?   

  • What do you think is the current "fashionable" teaching about Jesus in our generation?

Day 24 - Spiritual Pride

Matthew 16:1-12   Galatians 5:7-14   I Corinthians 5:7  |  Numbers 13:26-33

  • Evidently, there is something about faith that is contagious; the patient's girlfriend has caught it from her family and friends.  How can Wormwood use the spiritual contagion principle to twist his patient's faith?

  • Essential elements of twisting our faith are pride and confusion.  How can Wormwood use them?

Day 25 - Novelty and Fashion

I Samuel 8:4-9, 19-22   Galatians 1:6-10   I Timothy 4:1-5  |  II Timothy 3:1-9, 4:3

  • Screwtape does not like "mere" Christianity; he prefers to water down faith with fashionable issues and concerns.  What sort of fashionable issues are presently be headed to Christianity?

  • Now that you have read Screwtape's strategy, what would you say to a person who dismissed Christianity as old-fashioned?

Day 26 - Unselfishness and a Erotica

I Thessalonians 4:1-8   I Corinthians 7:1-5

  • How does mistaking sexual excitement for charity, and thinking that this excitement will last, affect us?

  • Describe how the devils twist on unselfishness can sour a relationship.

  • Why does Screwtape celebrating the devilish substitution of "unselfishness" for charity (love)?

Day 27 - False Spirituality

Luke 18:1-14   James 1:26-27, 4:1-8

  • Why good advice for handling distractions in prayer can apply from Screwtape's prayer?

  • What confusion and doubt about prayer does Wormwood's patient have that Wormwood will accentuate?

  • What doubts and concerns may hinder your prayers?

 

Day 28 - The Corruption of Aging

Psalm 90   Psalms 34   Psalms 144:1-4

  • Why does Screwtape prefer to see the war mode patient lives through the war to middle-age and beyond?

  • Inlight of Screwtape's advice to Wormwood, consider... How has aging affected your spiritual passion and development?

  • From both the divine and diabolical perspective, what is the value of a long life?

Day 29 - Twisted Virtues

Luke 6:27-36   Galatians 5:13-26

  • From Screwtape's reflection we learned that God has chosen to create a world of dangers in which moral choices truly matter.  Why would he do that?

  • What is it that truly matters to devils about the human experience of soon?

  • How do you think that the devils twist virtue to their advantage?

Day 30 - Fatigue and Weakness

I Samuel 30:1-6, 21-24    Genesis 25:29-34   Matthew 11:28-29  |  Romans 15:13

  • From a demonic perspective, what are the "benefits of fatigue," and how do demons twist it against us?

  • How does the devilish twisting of our understanding of reality hinder our growth in faith and the development of virtue?

 

Day 31 - The Sting of Death

John 14:1-6    I Corinthians 15:50-58   I John 3:1-3 

  • How does Screwtape help us to grasp what death really means and why death is even beneficial?

  • What do you think Screwtape means when he laments that the patient will see "Them" and "Him"?

  • How does the sight of Christ on the other side of death affect Wormwood's patient?

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