I believe how you pray is telling of how you view God. I remember when I didn’t quite view God as my loving Heavenly Father, I would sometimes pray what I thought I should pray, rather than what I really wanted to talk to God about.
Sometimes it can be intimidating to tell God you feel a certain way when you know you shouldn’t be having those feelings i.e they are sinful. An example is when you are holding a grudge against someone and due to your anger, you are unwilling to forgive. Another example is when you are anxious over something and you know that the bible tells you to be anxious about nothing (Philippians 4:6) and to not worry (Luke 12:22). You can either pretend and talk as though nothing is wrong or you can bring your struggles to Jesus.
I’ve come to a growing conviction that not saying what you really mean in your prayers will hinder your walk with God. If you really think about it, any type of pretence is foolish as it assumes that God doesn’t know exactly what’s going on in your heart, mind and life. He does. He knows all things. In Jeremiah 17:10, He says:
“I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”
In a way this is a terrifying verse. It tells us that God knows our deepest thoughts and He doesn’t just know them, He examines them; almost like He analyses them, weighs them up. It’s a verse that calls for us to guard and guide our own hearts and be mindful of what our hearts might be meditating on. In another way, this verse is wonderfully comforting. It shows that God knows us completely. I’ve sometimes been confused about my own emotions and I can sometimes be confused over my motives but the comforting truth is that God knows my heart exactly and though it is more wicked than I understand (Jeremiah 17:9), in Christ, God loves me unconditionally and He is faithful to complete the good work He began (Philippians 1:6). Now by God loving me unconditionally I don’t mean that I can sin and disobey Him and it not matter! If I delight in disobedience then I don’t know Christ. By saying God loves me unconditionally, I mean He loves because He is love (1 John 4:8). He is faithful to me and his covenant is an everlasting one.
Something I have feared is that I might be going to church for the wrong reasons (because what if I’m going because I like the people or the ‘atmosphere’ etc.?) or I might be reading the bible for the wrong reason (because I’m interested in theology). But I have prayed that He would ensure that I go to church because I want to worship Him in a corporate setting, in fellowship with other Christians and that I would read my bible because I want to know Him and not merely because of a type of academic interest. Jesus is faithful so I trust Him and rest assured. The reason why I can trust God to pray to Him honestly, or bluntly, is that it is His character that gives me the courage to do just that. In Psalm 103:8, it is written:
The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
Knowing that God is compassionate towards me and is immensely patient with me gives me the strength to pour out my heart to Him and ask Him to step in and help me do what I can in no way do myself.