The first lesson we have to learn about prayer is that it is God’s activity in us, and not a self-activated process of our own. The Desert Fathers, those great masters of the spiritual life, knew all about the essential condition of learning to pray. They called it ‘”purity of heart,” without which there could be no true metanoia, or conversion. We can pray only if our hearts are truly pure in the sense of Jesus’ teaching on the Sermon on the Mount, where the pure in heart shall see God. Prayer and daily life are indivisible. We must learn to pray as we are, and to accept ourselves as we are, and not as the ideal people we would like to imagine ourselves to be. We must grow to understand ourselves and accept that it is at the time when our natural passions are most active and our minds most distracted, that we can grow to a knowledge of ourselves as real persons. That is the point of tension at which we must offer ourselves to God in prayer.
— From Encountering the Depths by Sr. Mary Clare, SLG