Another issue faced by the early Christians was the relationship between God’s grace and human response. As with contemplation and practice, the early Christians sought to keep the together, forming a dynamic unity.
For them, God’s grace is always primary, but human response is a necessary sign that we are attentive to God. They believed that “purity of heart” (i.e. seeing God) is the result when grace and human responsiveness are working together.
This makes seeing God a pure gift, but not one that can be appropriated without human cooperation. For the early Christians, prayer is the means of grace which evidences our response to grace and thus “receives” what God has to give.