My friend and colleague Jim has some quotes by Flannery O’Connor on his blog People of the Book. This is one of my favorites:

“Almost any spiritual writer ought to wear thin for you. It’s like reading criticism of poetry all the time and not reading the poetry.”

This quote says a lot. So often we get caught up in this or that thing that is going to be “it” — that one thing that gives us some meaning or insight into life, God, or ourselves. The perfect mentor, the perfect book, the perfect place of solitude, the perfect whatever. All these things are good, but the temptation is to not have the experience itself. It’s great to read about God and hear others tell of their experience with God, but what of your experience? Why not learn about God from God? Prayer is nothing more than talking and listening with God. It really is that simple. So next time you pick up that inspiring book, remember to go to the primary source as well — live the experience.