The juxtaposition of intellectual capacity and spiritual insight in Evelyn Underhill’s life makes her perceptions on the devotional life especially valuable. In her work, The Essentials Of Mysticism, she describes how our thoughts and emotions, while of some value, should not be allowed to sidetrack us from the goal of God-centered prayer.

The determined fixing of our will upon God, and pressing toward him steadily and without deflection; this is the very center and the art of prayer. The most theological of thoughts soon becomes inadequate; the most spiritual of emotions is only a fair-weather breeze. Let the ship take advantage of it by all means, but bit rely on it. She must be prepared to beat to windward if she would reach her goal.