With such things in shambles around us as co-habitation, homosexuality, extra-marital affairs, Thomas Kempis' words need more attention and heed:
O Lord, my God, you have made me in your own image and likeness; grant me this grace which you have shown me to be so great and so necessary for my salvation: to overcome my corrupt nature, which drags me down to sin and the loss of my soul.
In my flesh I see the law of sin opposing the law of my mind, leading me into bondage; so that I incline more toward giving in to my sensual inclinations, nor am I able to resist these passions unless Your holy grace comes to my aid, infusing its fervor into my heart.
2. In order to overcome nature, I need your grace in great abundance, for this nature of ours is ever prone to evil even from its youth. For it was defiled by sin through the first man, Adam, and the penalty of that strain has descended upon all humankind.
To think that the very nature You made so good and upright is now captured for sin and corruption to the extent that its purely natural inclinations always draws us toward evil and base desires! And so the little strength and inclination to good still remaining are as a small spark of fire hidden among the ashes. This is our natural reason which - though surrounded by much darkness – is still able to discern good from evil and the true from the false. Yet it is unable to carry out all it approves, nor does it possess the full light of truth, or its formal wholesome affections.
3. Hence it is, O my God, that inwardly in my soul I take delight in Your law (Rom 7:22) and in Your teaching; for I know what You command is good, just and holy, both for the reproval of all evil and for the avoidance of all sin. Yet when I prefer to obey my senses rather than my reason, I serve the law of sin (Rom 7:25)...
Dear Lord, how absolutely necessary is your grace for me, not only to begin that which is good, but to persevere with it and to accomplish it. Without You, I can do nothing, but when Your grace strengthens me, I can do all things…
…Grant, therefore, O Lord, that Your grace always go before me and be ever at my back, keeping me intent upon good works to be done, through Jesus Christ, your Son and my Lord. AMEN!
-The Imitation of Christ, Book 3 Interior conversation, Power and GRACE