Every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.

Guess who said that? A humble person? Yes. A dedicated person? No doubt. A great person? Absolutely! This quote is by none other than the iconic scientist of the twentieth century, Albert Einstein. It is obvious that new scientific discovery is built on the ground of established science. What is amazing is that Einstein perceives that his interior life of reflection, spirituality, and identity were dependent and interconnected with others.

So if we pray well, could it be because others have prayed or are praying for us? Or because others have written about prayer, or preached on it. Or we have been in churches and prayer meetings with people who prayed well. The same could be said of any other skill, including that of sports. Kicking a ball may come naturally to some, but to bring the skill to the next level requires practice, learning from others, being coached, watching and studying the moves of great footballers.

Others have made the same point as Einstein. In Telling Secrets, Frederick Buechner wrote that it is important, “to keep track, you and I, of who we are and where we have come from and the people we have met along the way because it is precisely through these stories, in all their particularity, that God makes himself known most powerfully and personally.”

Henri Nouwen echoes, “We are called to lay down our lives for . . . people. This laying down . . . means first of all making our own lives — our sorrows and joys, our despair and hope, our loneliness and experience of intimacy — available to others as sources of new life.” (Bread for the Journey)