Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
Surely you desire truth in the inner parts;
you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.
Psalm 51: 1,6
Prayer is not a performance. It is not an attempt to impress God. Prayer is honest communication.
Transparency is the cornerstone of intimacy in any relationship, including our relationship with God.
In the story of Adam and Eve we see our instinctive response to failure. Adam and Eve failed and then they hid from God. They had been intimate with God, but now they were in hiding. “Where are you?” God called. God still calls us today. “Where are you? Come out of hiding, be honest with Me, it is the only way we can experience intimacy.”
Honesty is the choice to come out of hiding.
Being honest means that we tell the truth about ourselves. It means we do not deny or minimize or blame. Instead, we acknowledge the truth about our thoughts, our feelings, our actions. This may sound easy, but it is often anything but easy. Honesty exposes our weaknesses, our needs, our fears, our failings. The truth about ourselves may feel shameful. We may be working so hard to defend ourselves against feelings of shame that we find it difficult to be honest. We may fear that God and others close to us will reject us if we tell the truth.
But if we think about how we might respond to a friend who is honest and transparent with us, we know that we would feel drawn to this friend, we would feel closer to them and we would be grateful for their trusting disclosure.
Our response to honesty in others is usually gratitude, appreciation, even tenderness. And so it is with God. God welcomes our honesty. God invites us to courageously practice “truth in the inner parts,” trusting that God will respond to our honesty with compassion.
The psalmist begins this psalm by reflecting on God’s unfailing love and compassion. When we feel safe with someone, we find it easier to be honest. When we trust that we are loved unconditionally, we are better able to expose our souls. Prayer is honesty with God. Prayer is revealing our souls to the One who loves us without fail.
They are my hope.
They draw me out of hiding.
They call me to a place of transparency.
I come out of hiding with all my weaknesses and fears.
My ‘inmost places’ are not accustomed to the light of your Love.
Teach me to practice truth in my inmost being.
Teach me the wisdom of honesty where it matters the most.
May I be a person who no longer has a need to hide.
Make me a person whose insides are full of truth and wisdom.
Ask God to show you how you might be hiding from God.
Hear God calling to you, “Where are you?”
Ask God to help you to come out of hiding and to practice honesty with God.