Relationship with God – or, indeed, with anyone – grow only when we can be “real” before Him. Being as “real” as one can before God is an essential requirement for prayer. It doesn’t matter what one’s response to God is, as long as it is real. Even the fears, the anger, the disappointments that people always find embarrassing to admit, are real; responding to God honestly keeps the relationship alive, and opens one to God’s further revelation.
On the other hand, we notice time and time again how prayer – and relationship – collapse when people try to behave differently from how they really feel. For example. A religious sister told of how boring and painful she found prayer, until she finally admitted to God that she was angry with him for the death of her closest friend years before. The young man who desired his “freedom” more that anything else, “couldn’t pray at all, until he was able to say to God (and to himself) that he was unfaithful to his wife, and had been justifying his sin for months. It is as though all our energy goes into hiding what we don’t want God to see.
Yet God love real people, as they are, warts, carbuncles and all. Relationships thrive on reality and openness. Some of the best advice about prayer I’ve ever had heard is to “PRAY AS YOU ARE, NOT AS YOU’RE NOT”, and to “PRAY AS YOU CAN, NOT AS YOU CAN’T”.
What happens as people become more and more real before God? In the first place, God himself becomes more real to them; more tangible, though also more awesome, more loving, and certainly, more challenging. They discover a God whose desire for them as far outweighs all of their dark places, all their unworthiness. The living Lord Jesus looks on them with the same love that He showed the sinful woman sitting at His feet, and the rich young man, and Peter after his betrayal. When we have experienced this great love that God has for us, our prayer and relationship with God goes ahead in leaps and bounds. I have heard people asked “why pray?”. The answer isn’t exactly “why not?” but if I really want God, then, “how could I not?” There are many ways of praying:what all the different ways have in common is that they are all ways of responding to God. Sometimes, too, people say “why do I need to tell what I am thinking of feeling? – God knows, surely”. Yes, God knows – but maybe our telling God is not for God’s sake! Why do lovers keep telling each other of their love? In any relationship we Are serious about, time needs to be taken to be together, to share life’s experiences, to wait, to listen, to ask, to say thank you… “How could we not?”…. We need to.
source: Gallagher, Brian. Pray As You Are. Quezon City: Claretian Publication, Inc. pp.9 - 11