Newton's Struggle with Prayer

If you knew the struggles of the greatest of saints you might be heartened to press on in prayer in 2009.

John Newton (1725-1807)—slave trader, convert to Christ, author of “Amazing Grace,” pastor, fellow struggler—on a morning in April sometime between 1752 and 1756 wrote this:

Prayed over a part of the eighth of Romans in a way of paraphrase with some readiness. I greatly fail in the duty of meditation and am forced to use some artifice with myself to do it at all; thus sometimes I turn them into a prayer form, sometimes I suppose myself in imaginary conversation, sometimes that I am called upon to speak to a point. 

Without something of this sort I am not able to engage myself to attend with any fixedness of thought, and with it, alas! how seldom, I would remember to pray for grace and direction in this matter that my delight may be in the Law of God to meditate therein day and night. (John Newton, 91)

John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books.