I’ve been finding it hard to pray these days. This isn’t because I have lost my confidence in God by the force of some great disappointment, as it usually has been the case, but because it seems opposed to another impeccable tenet of our faith – that the material world is inessential. When we pray, we often pray for a favor; we pray that God might for this single instance bend the rules of the universe and procure us a fortune which would otherwise have eluded us. We pray for success, we pray for good grades, we pray for rosy opportunities, etc., etc.. But is this all not an admission that the material world is in fact essential, that our happiness rests on reality taking on the landscape our dreamy wish, perhaps, if only we prayed ardently enough, by the prevailing hand of God? And the more we pray, the more we begin to hinge our happiness on the material world; insofar that we do not bother at all to find happiness in the present and the ordinary, in the ethereal beauty of mere existence.