What is it about prayer that causes me to turn aside, to pass by, and to shy away? Why do I hide my nose in a book instead of settling on my knees?
Is it disbelief? No, but it is difficult for me to comprehend the God who is invisible.
Is it fear? No, I sing hymns very heartily without hesitation.
But, there is this sense in me that feels like I'm holding a one-sided conversation. I strongly believe that God's Word is His word (and not just the words of men who lived and died a long time ago), but I have always been hesitant about seeking to find God's voice in prayer because I fear that I will interpose my own words in place of His words. I would not want to claim to have the words of God if they were actually my own words! That would be false prophecy. But in being so afraid of hearing myself in the course of prayer, I am anxious about facing prayer all together. That's one reason.
The second reason is much more selfish. I tend to feel that it's burdensome to bring my concerns to the Lord in prayer. But the Lord has said, "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28) Still, for some reason, when I pray I either feel like I am tired from stirring up the waters of my concern or weary from recalling all the items that I should be praying for. While I should be filled with relief and joy for the opportunity to entrust these things to God, I feel worn out.
So, how do I remedy these problems? Does anyone have wisdom that they could share?
I've begun praying that the Holy Spirit would give me a desire to pray - a new heart for prayer. "Incline my heart to You" not only in a love for Your word, but in a love for prayer. I've also been taking time to read about the Tabernacle and the place behind the veil - that glorious place where the High Priest worshiped. No one went with him to that place, and in that place he had nothing to do except worship in the fullness of his mind, heart, and soul. I've also been thinking about John, who leaned against Jesus while the disciples enjoyed the Passover meal the night before the Crucifixion. And I'm also thinking about the Creation and the Psalms, which praise God as the great Creator and marvelous Maker of all.
Still, my heart and mind are slow in desiring prayer. It all just shows how my heart is by nature not inclined to God, and that it is only by His grace that I could ever draw near.