When you are invited to pray, you are asked to open your tightly clenched fist and give up your last coin. But who wants to do that? A first prayer, therefore, is often a painful prayer because you discover you dont want to let go. You hold fast to what is familiar, even if you aren't proud of it. You find yourself saying: "That's just how it is with me. I would like it to be different, but it can't be now. THat's just the way it is and this is the way I'll have to leave it." Once you talk like that, you've already given up believing that your life might be otherwise. Yo've already let hte hope for a new life float by. Since you wouldn't dare to put a quetion mark after a bit of your own experience with all its attachments, you have wrapped yourself up in the destiny of facts. You feel it is safer to cling to a sorry past than to trust in a new future. So you fill your hands with small, clammy coins which you don't really want to surrender.
- Henri Nouwen, "With Open Hands"