Yesterday, I had another insight.
Something I noticed many years ago is what I call "spiritual delay." I'm unsure if this has been reference in the entries so far, but to summarize: that for which we pray and on which we meditate rarely manifests immediately, and thank God for that; can you imagine the devastation that would occur in a world where anything and everything that popped into our mind suddenly came to be?
This is the warning that the 1984 movie Ghostbusters gives us using the image of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. Yes, it's a bizarre reference, but that someone couldn't hold their mind clear and managed to have such a terrifying experience is exactly what we're able to avoid.
That doesn't mean that our endeavors are fruitless. On the contrary, the grace we receive from our prayers and such manifests at a later time- perhaps days later, or even weeks, but it does come to be.
So then we must consider another thing- meditation is a form of receiving the energy necessary for these things to occur. Prayer and ritual are forms of activating that energy. Both aspects work together.
To offer prayers, even traditional prayers, when one has deeply meditated is not to simply offer empty words but to activate all of the grace one has received in meditation. The prayers offer us a container through which to express the energy.
The same is true for ritual. Sometimes energy is built in ritual, and that can be sufficient.
What's more sufficient is the building up of energy prior to a ritual and then adding that to the energy built during the ritual.
This is a lot to absorb, so we'll leave this here.