The first essay is titled "The Efficacy of Prayer." A lot of the thoughts in this essay appear elsewhere in Lewis' work, but he does have one bit that I thought was really moving. Lewis proposed (to significantly simplify) that as we become more and more mature in our faith, we see fewer and fewer answers to our prayers. Lewis, here, is trying to grapple with Jesus' prayer in Gethsemanae. And here is what he says:
Does God then forsake just those who serve Him best? Well, He who served Him best of all said, near His tortured death, “Why hast thou forsaken me?” When God becomes man, that Man, of all others, is least comforted by God, at His greatest need. There is a mystery here which, even if I had the power, I might not have the courage to explore. Meanwhile, little people like you and me, if our prayers are sometimes granted, beyond all hope and probability, had better not draw hasty conclusions to our own advantage. If we were stronger, we might be less tenderly treated. If we were braver, we might be sent, with far less help, to defend far more desperate posts in the great battle.
Far more desperate posts in the great battle...I love that phrase.