When we pray we should know that God sees us just as we are and that we cannot hide from His sight. Hebrews 4:13 says, “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”
Also in Psalms 139:1-4 it says,
O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
2 You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
3 You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
4 For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
Transparent prayer also implies that we are in favor of His knowledge of us. We do not try to hide ourselves from Him. We let ourselves be seen by Him. Thus we do all we can to open ourselves up to His probing, searching eyes.
So what can we do to make our prayers more transparent—more honest, genuine, and truthful? Here are three ideas that I think will be helpful.
1. Use various prayer positions
God has given us natural inclinations to pray in different positions. When we are obedient (to the Holy Spirit) to follow those inclinations, we find that our soul is more open to God—and prayer and worship comes easier. But when we resist those inclinations, we cut off the true Spirit of prayer within us, and transparent prayer is blocked.
There are many different prayer positions, but I will comment just briefly on three of the most common ones: sitting, standing, and kneeling with bowing.
Sitting. The sitting position is probably the most common position of prayer. It is the position of a learner and of meditation. When we sit at a desk and study the Bible it is natural to conclude our study time in prayer while we are still sitting.
Standing. Standing is a common prayer position for public prayer and for prayer with worship and singing. When we stand together for prayer and worship we stand in awe of God and in respect of God.
We stand also to allow God to examine us. Hence, we stand willingly before His probing eyes, confessing our sins.
The standing position is a symbol of boldness. When we stand in the house of the Lord lifting our hands in prayer and praise to God we show that we are not ashamed of Him, and that we are not ashamed to reach out to Him and bless Him in front of others (Ps. 134:1-2).
Kneeling and bowing the head. When we bend the knee toward God and bow the head we are acknowledging that He is greater than us and that we need His help. This position aids our desire to humble ourselves probably more than any other position. And it keeps us in the Spirit of prayer.
2. Read and Meditate on the Psalms
The inspired Psalms, I would say, contain the most transparent prayers and songs we will ever read and hear. If you take the time to read them and study them they will help you to get in touch with your own emotions, so that you will say to yourself, “Yes, that is how I feel; I feel just like the Psalmist.” Therefore, the Psalms are valuable to us because they will help us to form our own prayers, and to pray in the most transparent way possible—as God would want us to pray.
Psalms 8 for example may help you to praise God when you feel led in your spirit to praise Him. Thus you will pray with the Psalmist (from verse 9), “O Lord, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth…”
When you feel weak and need His help, Psalms 16 may aid you. Verse one says, “Preserve me, O God, for in You I put my trust.”
And when you have sinned and need to confess your sins, Psalms 51 may help you to form your prayers. Verse 3-4 says,
For I acknowledge my transgressions,
And my sin is always before me.
4 Against You, You only, have I sinned,
And done this evil in Your sight —
That You may be found just when You speak,
And blameless when You judge.
3. Follow the prayer examples of Bible Characters
When you examine the prayers of the most holy Bible characters you will see that their prayers were very transparent. Moses for example wasn’t afraid to tell God exactly how he felt or to ask questions. At the Burning Bush he prayed,
Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?… suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice…I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue (Ex. 3:11; 4:1,10).
Some may think that Moses was impertinent in His bold candor. But I don’t think so. He was simply speaking to God openly and honestly. In time God rewarded him for always coming to Him whenever he had a question, a doubt, or a need. In Exodus 33:11 it says, “So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.”
There are many examples we can follow besides Moses. The one whom I think of most is Jesus. Though He was God, He was also human and His prayers were very human and very transparent. Toward the end of His life, He prayed, “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify Your name” (Jn. 12:27-28). At another time, in the garden of Gethsemane, He prayed, “O my Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will” (Matt. 26:39).
It is so obvious that Jesus’ always prayed from His heart. He never prayed to impress anyone, or even to teach anyone. Rather, He prayed directly and openly to His Father whom He loved. Likewise, His prayers were never pompous sounding or flowery. They were always simple, honest, and direct, communicating in a very human and common way His deepest thoughts and feelings.