Prayer, first of all, is crying out to God from our heart.

There is so much fear and agony in us. Fear of people, fear of God, and much raw, undefined, free-floating anxiety. I wonder if fear is not our main obstacle to prayer. When we enter into the presence of God and start to sense that huge reservoir of fear in us, we want to run away into the many distractions that our busy world offers us so abundantly. But we should not be afraid of our fears. We can confront them, give words to them, cry out to God, and lead our fears into the presence of the One who says: “Don’t be afraid, it is I.”

Our inclination is to reveal to God only what we feel comfortable in sharing. Naturally, we want to love and be loved by God, but we also want to keep a little corner of our inner life for ourselves, where we can hide and think our own secret thoughts, dream our own dreams, and play with our own mental fabrications. We are often tempted to select carefully the thoughts that we bring into our conversation with God.

What makes us so stingy? Maybe we wonder if God can take all that goes on in our minds and hearts. Can God accept our hateful thoughts, our cruel fantasies, and our bizarre dreams? This withholding of a large part of our thoughts leads us onto a road that we would never consciously want to take. It is the road of spiritual censorship — editing all the fantasies, worries, resentments, and disturbing thoughts we do not wish to share with anyone, including God, who sees and knows all. —