As I was sitting around just this evening wondering why, after so many years of being a Christian, prayer often comes with such great difficulty, I stumbled upon this passage from George Hunter’s The Celtic Way of Evangelism.
In your spiritual life, do not engage in endless ongoing self-assessment and spiritual navel-gazing. Canon Bryan Green, a great Anglican evangelist in the Celtic tradition, once said that too many Christians remind him of the fellow who planted a small bush in a pot and watered it every day—and pulled it out of the soil every day to see if the roots were growing! (Of course, they were not.) The purpose of the spiritual life, after all, is not to reinforce the pride, self-preoccupation, and narcissism that are our original sin, but to become open enough to the Spirit to be pulled out of that self-centeredness; to be reconciled to God, others, and creation; and to have the marvelous freedom of largely forgetting oneself for stretches of time—before regrouping in scheduled times of discipline.1