"Prayer, as I learned, is a relationship between two persons, God and man, who move towards each other. Thus, the swiftness or slowness with which a person advances in prayer depends on both the human and divine wills. Neither the freedom of God in His sovereignty nor the freedom of man in his free choice are violated. For his part, man offers his good intentions, his labors, and his desires to draw near to God. God, in turn, offers His grace.
No matter how great a man's ascetic labors may appear before the eyes of men, his offerings are infinitesimal in contrast with what God offers. Man takes one step, and God responds with a thousand in order to bridge the gap. Nevertheless, man's small and significant step in God's direction is absolutely crucial, because it reveals man's intentions and good disposition, giving God the 'right' to approach him, without infringing his spiritual freedom. Unlike the hate-filled, tyrannical devil, God deeply respects human freedom and never violates it, because He loves man. He desires a relationship of love with man, and love can exist only when people are free." - Dionysios Farasiotis in The Gurus, the Young Man, and Elder Paisios, pgs 276-77