I knew that I was echoing something C.S. Lewis wrote when I mentioned the “irksomeness of prayer.” I looked up the original passage, from Letters to Malcolm. He was dealing with a different kind of frustration, but I still appreciate it when the dear don acknowledges that prayer, for him, isn’t a stream of endless delight.
Well, let’s now at any rate come clean. Prayer is irksome. An excuse to omit it is never unwelcome. When it is over, this casts a feeling of relief and holiday over the rest of the day. We are reluctant to begin. We are delighted to finish. While we are at prayer, but not while we are reading a novel or solving a crossword puzzle, any trifle is enough to distract us. And we know that we are not alone in this. The fact that prayers are constantly set as penances tells its own tale.
It should also be noted that “irksome” is a delightful word and needs to be employed more frequently, whether in reference to prayer or anything else. Like “the irksomeness of Yo Gabba Gabba.”