The path of spiritual declension
is a 'sloped plane', each step accelerating
the rapidity of the soul's descent.

It commences at the closet. The restraining
of prayer; especially private devotion; is the
first stage in the decay and declension of the
believer in the divine life.

Soon will follow the fascination and power of
the world; and when the world enters like a flood,
Christ and prayer and eternal realities are swept
before its impetuous torrent, then the gracious
soul is stranded upon the bleak, rock bound coast
of bitter remorse and dark despair.

(From Octavius Winslow's "Prayer Out of Soul Depths")