Does anybody see, in any way, any truth in this?  Any personal experience with this distinction in your own life (or elsewhere)?

There is a certain egoist self-confidence which is increased by the more elementary forms of religion, which upholds us in much of our contact with men, and which even secures us an influence with them.

But the influence is one of impression rather than permeation, it overbears rather than converts, and it inflames rather than inspires.

This is a force which true and close prayer is very apt to undermine, because [such prayer] saps our self-deception and its Pharisaism.

That’s from Peter Taylor Forsyth, The Soul of Prayer, close to one hundred years ago.