I'm going to pause this week in exploring various prayer practices, and talk a little bit about openness, honesty, frankness when we pray.
A comment that was made to me recently by someone who expressed feeling anxious when they pray, was that they had a difficult time telling the "truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth," especially when asking for help, expressing anger, or making a confession. It wasn't that this person "lied," but had issues or topics that were passively present in prayer, rather than actively brought out into the open.
I have to admit, I have found myself in that kind of place more than once. After all, God knows everything about us, so why did it matter that I didn't specifically bring a subject up? For example, I sometimes have those days that I find myself short-tempered or uhm... shall I say... bitchy. During my evening prayer time when I review my day, does it matter if I specifically bring up that I unfairly bit someone's head off? Is it not enough to have it hover in the background, knowing that I know and God knows that it's there?
I will argue that yes, it matters quite a lot.
Prayer is about relationship. How open we are willing to be, how much effort we put into laying all of our cards on the table, matters. Think about your human relationships. If a friend, a child, or your spouse comes to you and admits some error or problem they are struggling with, does it not mean more to you, even if you already knew about what they were talking about?
How deeply are you willing to enter into a relationship with God? This truly is a relationship where all of our baggage is welcome, desired, and known. Bring it. Bring your anger, your resentments, your fears your short-comings and your "bitchy" moments. Bring your joy, your accomplishments, your gratitude, your hopes and your wishes. All of it.
If there is any time where we can be genuinely, keenly be every bit of who we are, and be met with compassion, forgiveness, and encouragement, this is it. The more you can willingly and actively bare those deeper, darker, less "pretty" parts of yourself in prayer, the more healing you will find there.