The great masters of prayer have compared the spiritual life to an ocean. On the surface life may be roiled by wind and tides. Yet beneath the surface, even amid a stormy sea, the water is calm. Deep contentment and inner peace are anchored in these depths – the truth behind, “Be still, and know that I am God.”
Henry David Thoreau wrote, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” Most of us exist in a state of desperation, but we are afraid to admit it. Strangely enough, we will not pray as we ought unless we are willing to admit our weakness, brokenness, and desperation. We need God in our lives. It is for this reason that we pray.
God is greater than a reluctant friend. God is better than the most caring parent. God wants to share a deep, intimate, and mutually reciprocal relationship with us. Our challenge is to possess the holy boldness to approach God at all times and for all things, trusting God to provide what we need most.
According to the Christian tradition, the greatest sin is that of spiritual pride. Spiritual pride mimics righteousness but its fruit is evil – hatred, intolerance, and division – and leads us to look down on others and hold them in contempt. We must be ever mindful of the danger of spiritual pride, especially in the midst of our greatest spiritual advances.