At the first call and beckoning of grace, at the first entering within, the spiritual realm opens up before us, and we are granted the vision of another world, independently of whether we desire it or not. But afterwards this vision, together with the power to dwell constantly within, are left to man's free choice and we must work to attain them.
May the Lord give you the blessing of strong desire to stand inwardly before God. Seek and you will find. Seek God: such is the un-alterable rule for all spiritual advancement. Nothing comes without effort. The help of God is always ready and always near, but it is only given to those who seek and work, and only to those seekers who, after putting all their powers to the test, and then cry out with all their heart: Lord, help us. So long as you hold on to every little hope of achieving something by your own powers, the Lord does not interfere. It is as though He says: “You hope to succeed by yourself – very well, go on trying! But however long you try you will achieve nothing." May the Lord give you a contrite spirit, a humble and contrite heart.
~ St Theophan the Recluse