In recent times it has become fashionable in Christian spirituality to put great emphasis on service of our neighbour and to equate that service with prayer. There is much truth in this idea, but it is a half-truth. There can be no substitute in the spiritual life for being alone with God. There must be that part of spirituality which is private and individual – secret between me and my God. It is that daily attempt to become increasingly aware of the presence and action of God in our lives and to know the growing desire within us for some kind of closeness to him … It is not easy for us to find time and place to be alone with God, but the saints have taught us, and experience shows, that we all need to include space in our day and in the mind to allow God to enter into our lives. It is not always easy. We are busy people, we have many responsibilities. Our minds are preoccupied with many things. We have to make an effort to find an opportunity to be alone with God.
[Cardinal Basil Hume, OSB: The Mystery of the Cross, p. 49)