Prayer, an Embarrassment?

While wondering aimlessly on the internet and procrastinating application essays, I realized something.
I am embarrassed by prayer.
It sort of feels like it belongs with the “Big Three”: politics, sex, religion, and your private prayer life.

I think part of my sentiment stems from this passage:

And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
– Matthew 6:5-6

Yes! Pray humbly! Don’t pray in order to get attention! Pray to talk to your Father!
But I think there is a huge problem when I use the sentiment from this passage to justify not praying period.
In high school I started taking 10-15 minutes in the middle of getting ready to read and pray, but I always feared my dad or brother walking into the room. I didn’t want to answer the question, “What are you doing?” because, “Talking to Jesus” always sounds like such a fake answer.
One year I said, “I can’t start praying on my knees when I have a roommate. I’ll wait till I go home for the summer.” (Hasn’t happened yet.)
I started a prayer journal last year, and it’s always on the bottom of the stack of books on my nightstand. Partly for the privacy of what’s written in there, partly to avoid answering questions about what the journal is. And thus its use has faded.
I read a book recently that shared the author’s technique of writing prayers on index cards. I really like the ideas he put forward, but I haven’t done anything about it.
What?! Why??! you may well ask.
I have all the free time I desire over break, so time isn’t a burden.
I have a deep desire to talk to God more and to pray for my friends, so desire isn’t lacking.
I asked myself this same question, and came to the uncomfortable conclusion that I just don’t want anyone to know that I pray. I mean, yes, people should know that I pray, but I don’t want anyone to face physical evidence attesting to this fact.
(My brain is currently taking so many issues with the previous sentences, but my heart is screaming, “Hush! I don’t have to make sense.”)

And now I’m posting, on the internet for all to see, my embarrassment at accepting one of God’s great gifts. We’ll see what comes from here.

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