Preachers point out how hymns often make liars out of us (“Take my silver and my gold, not a mite would I withhold…”). Maybe we can excuse that as poetic license or just stating our good intentions. On the other hand, people are often dishonest in prayer: “Thank you for the wonderful day” but inside it doesn’t feel all that wonderful.
How can we be dishonest in prayer? It’s human nature to think some matters are too trivial to pray about. “The Creator of the Universe isn’t interested in my frustrations with the phone company.” That’s not true. God has invited us to share our whole life with Him. He is interested in our growth and that requires transparency on our part.
Likewise there are some things we’d rather not talk about. That’s true in marriage (or any relationship for that matter) and it’s true in prayer. A man came home drunk one night. He staggered into the house and his sweet wife helped him into bed. As she pulled the covers up and kissed his head she asked, “Charles, would you like me to say a prayer?”
In his drunken stupor he mumbled something she took to be a “Yes” and so she began, “Heavenly Father, please forgive my drunken husband…” The startled man opened his eyes and objected, “Don’t tell him I’m drunk! Tell him I’m sick!”
There are also times when we are angry with God but we are afraid to admit it. “Why did this have to happen to me?” Still we say our prayers and pretend everything is fine. Job had the courage (or the maturity) to ask the tough questions. He was honest with God and we call Job blessed.
The point of all this is growth. Before we can be honest with God, we must be honest with ourselves and so the discipline of prayer calls us into a totally transparent relationship with God. It calls us to be honest to God.