Fix Our Thoughts

When Captain Wentworth writes to Anne at the end of Persuasion, he says: “For you alone, I think and plan.” Anne stands at a window talking with another gentleman, “not very near,” and yet Wentworth can think of nothing but her and the distinct sound of her voice. We later read that Anne’s eyes “devoured” the words in his letter. In perhaps the most romantic scene in all of English literature, we see two people with their eyes and thoughts completely fixed on each other.

Jane paints a similar picture of wholehearted devotion to God in this portion of her prayer: She prays for the “knowledge” of God’s continual presence to teach her to “fix [her] Thoughts” on him. Like anyone who has ever sat down to pray, Jane evidently understood how easy it is to become distracted. She desired, therefore, to pray with “Reverence & Devotion.” Jane’s words also suggest that she wanted God on the throne of her heart and at the center of her vision.

Jane prayed

May the knowledge of this, teach us to fix our Thoughts on Thee, with Reverence & Devotion that we pray not in vain.


Is prayer ever difficult due to the distractions and busyness of daily life?



Dodge, Rachel. Praying with Jane: 31 Days through the Prayers of Jane Austen. Baker Publishing Group.

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Rachel Dodge

Rachel Dodge is a Jane Austen scholar and the author of Praying with Jane: 31 Days Through the Prayers of Jane Austen. She teaches college writing and literature classes and gives talks at local book clubs, libraries, and literary groups. Rachel is a regular contributor to Jane Austen’s World blog, Write That Book, Regency World Magazine, and the award-winning Inspire Writers blog. She was the keynote speaker at the Sacramento Public Library’s “How Austentatious!” series, Notable Books series, and 2014 Jane Austen Birthday Tea. Rachel is a graduate of the University of Southern California (B.A. in English and public relations) and California State University, Sacramento (M.A. in English literature). She wrote her Master’s Thesis on etiquette in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and won the 2005 Dominic J. Bazzanella Literary Award in non-fiction for “Pictures of (Im)perfection: Jane Austen’s ‘Delightful’ Elizabeth Bennet.” She is an active member of Inspire Writers, JASNA, JASNA Greater Sacramento, the L.M. Montgomery Institute, Write that Book, Literary Life, and several Downton Abbey and Jane Austen fan clubs.