The Difficulties of Prayer, John Donne

Here is a description of the difficulties of prayer that we can probably all relate to:

“But when we consider with a religious seriousness the manifold weaknesses of the strongest devotions in time of Prayer, it is a sad consideration.  I throw myself downe in my Chamber, and I call in, and invite God, and his Angels thither, and when they are there, I neglect God and his Angels, for the noise of a Flie, for the ratling of a Coach, for the whining of a doore; I talke on, in the same posture of praying; eyes lifted up; knees bowed downe; as though I prayed to God; and, if God, or his Angels should aske me, when i thought last of God in that prayer, I cannot tell.  Sometimes I finde that I had forgot what I was about, but when I began to forget it, I cannot tell.  A memory of yester days pleasures, a feare of tomorrows dangers, a straw under my knee, a noise in mine eare, a light in mine eye, an any thing, a nothing, a fancy…troubles me in my prayer…I turne to hearty and earnest prayer to God, and I fix my thoughts strongly (as I thinke) upon him, and before I have perfected one petition…the spirit of slumber closes mine eyes, and I pray drowsily; or…the spirit of deviation, and vaine repetition, and I pray giddily, and circularly, and returne againe and againe to that I have said before, and perceive not that I do so…I consider not mine own purpose in prayer; and by this advantage, this doore of inconsideration, enters the seducing spirit, the spirit of error, and I pray not only negligently, but erroneously, dangerously for such things as disconduce to the glory of God, and my true happiness, if they were granted.”

Taken from the Sermons of John Donne


About amspencer1984

I am a Christian who desires to serve in God's kingdom in the best way possible. I have served as a foreign missionary in southern Mexico. I have worked as a youth minister at my local church of Grace Baptist in Dickson, TN. I have also recently begun to write books with a desire to help others grow in life. I hope that they are helpful and effective in doing that. I have been married to Alicia Spencer since 2003. We have six children and give thanks to God for all of them.
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2 Responses to The Difficulties of Prayer, John Donne

  1. Tiffany says:

    Are you sure this isn’t a quote from me? I can completely relate. May God grant us more fervency, devotion, and vision of the eternal. That is the only thing that can change how we pray! Thanks for sharing, Aaron!

  2. amspencer1984 says:

    I imagine we all can relate to this to some degree, at least, can’t we?

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