Emilie Griffin begins her marvelous little book on prayer called Clinging with this powerful paragraph:
There is a moment between intending to pray and actually praying that is as dark and silent as any moment in our lives. It is the split second between thinking about prayer and really praying. Fro some of us, this split second may last for decades. It seems, then, that the greatest obstacle to prayer is the simple matter of beginning, the simple exertion of the will, the starting, the acting, the doing. How easy it is, and yet — between us and the possibility of prayer there seems to be a great gulf fixed: an abyss of our own making that separates us from God.
Each sentence takes my breath away. I see those words, turn them over in my mind, and almost find a weeping in my spirit. I long to pray.
The key, of course, is to simply begin. Walk in prayer. Begin with simple words and allow the Spirit to lead you onward.
I begin my day with one of two thoughts to lead me into a morning of prayer, or at least the hope of keeping my mind in prayerful attitude.
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name…”
Or, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I lack nothing…”
I carry one of those two prayers in my heart so that when I wake up I can begin to reflect on who God is rather than what my circumstances may be for the day.
It is also good to reflect on the prayers of others. From Psalms, from a Book of Prayer, from the saints who have gone before, their heart-felt prayers can carry us on.
The key is to begin. Do not stare into the abyss… begin.
Lord, teach me to listen. Teach me to begin. In my beginning, let me simply give thanks and allow my spirit to be stilled in your presence. You are here. You are ready. You are waiting. Lord, I come.