You have to learn how to start yourself off, and it is just here that this knowledge of yourself is so important. What I have generally found is that to read something which can be characterized in general as devotional is of great value. By devotional I do not mean something sentimental, I mean something with a true element of worship in it.

Notice that I do not say that you should start yourself in prayer by always reading the Scriptures; because you can have precisely the same difficulty there.

  • Start by reading something that will warm your spirit.
  • Get rid of a coldness that may have developed in your spirit.
  • You have to learn how to kindle a flame in your spirit, to warm yourself up, to give yourself a start. It is comparable, if you like, to starting a car when it is cold.
  • You have to learn how to use a spiritual choke. I have found it most rewarding to do that, and not to struggle vainly.
  • When one finds oneself in this condition, and that it is difficult to pray, do not struggle in prayer for the time being, but read something that will warm and stimulate you, and you will find that it will put you into a condition in which you will be able to pray more freely.

Martyn Lloyd Jones, Preaching and Preachers