I do not understand your question fully but I think you are saying that there is no honesty in praying what we do not mean or feel. I ran into this a long time ago when I started the spiritual life and I found a solution that put me at ease because I too did not feel comfortable in being dishonest in my prayers to God. The solution I used is to ask God to make me reach the stage of prayer that I am reciting if I am not there yet. In other words if I see that the prayer does not reflect my state, then I ask God to help me reach the spiritual state reflected in that prayer.
I think that the lessons about human life and about spiritual life that we humans can't learn VICARIOUSLY we are doomed to LEARN THE HARD WAY, by bitter experience.
As human beings we are the living beings on this planet most adapted to be able to share our passions (both concupiscible and irascible) with other living beings. So for example we often feel bad when we see even animals suffering physical pain. Or on the other hand we may be roused to irrational and violent hatred by mob behavior or by slander, etc. As humans we are potentially the most compassionate living beings on the planet. However, it may also happen sometimes that our conscience becomes seared and we temporarily or permanently lose our compassion.
The Psalms in particular and the whole Bible in general speak in various places about all kinds of human experiences more wide ranging than perhaps a lot of us will ever experience. One wonderful thing that the Bible (and the works of many Saints) does is give us the opportunity to learn VICARIOUSLY in a GODLY way about the full range of human experience and passions and how to handle them, like unto Jesus who was tempted in all ways with all human temptations.
I think that in Catholic theology, that among the three capacities of intellect/reason, will, and memory, that IMAGINATION belongs together with MEMORY.
Now on the one hand, the Bible does in St. Paul somewhere speak about 'casting down vain imaginations'. But I'm pretty darn sure that it does not mean to demonize IMAGINATION in general. Notice the word 'vain' in front of imagination.
I think that because of a certain pseudo sophistication and pseudo rationality, many of us 'moderns' would rebel against using IMAGINATION in prayer as being not HONEST. If you consider the matter more realistically you will soon see that if we ever accomplish any goals, worthy or unworthy (vain imaginations), visualizing the goal in the IMAGINATION is always involved. There may be a few exceptions, for example, I don't think imagination increases your odds of winning the lottery much
I believe that imagination is one of the key parts of what is called "mental prayer" in Catholicism. Normally we think of 'mental prayer' as non-vocal prayer, but I think that is an over simplification. So people please don't beat me over the head in what I am about to say. Obviously one can recite prayers out loud in a completely rote manner. I don't think there would be much VICARIOUS 'heart' learning in a rote prayer. I would also ask how much vicarious learning there could be with zero imagination. With zero imagination, the most important mental faculties, namely intellect, will, memory/imagination are detached. Without imagination, the intellect has no concrete objects to "work" with. Only ethereal totally abstract words to juggle. That might qualify as philosophy but hardly qualify as prayer, IMO. Going on autopilot, even without reason, in the case of rote prayer. So I would submit that the key distinction as far as achieving any further conversion of heart (vicarious learning) in prayer is not whether the prayer is vocal or silent, but whether the main mental faculties memory, will, intellect are seriously involved or not.
A couple examples of the fruitful use of imagination in Godly things would be such things as the medieval mystery plays and the praying of the mysteries of the Rosary. These certainly require imagination to have a decent chance of bearing any fruit.
When the Jews recite the Haggadah story of the Passover they always explicitly point out that this story is not only just ancient history but if the faith means anything then the parting of the sea and the thunder at Sinai must become alive TODAY. How else can this have any hope of coming true in any persons life unless he or she can somehow someway however strong or weak visualize this goal in the IMAGINATION?
Why else do we rehearse all the wonders and mysteries of the Old Testament foreshadowing the passion, death, resurrection , etc. during the Easter vigil mass? Is it only to give academic evidence of the prophesies to bolster our intellectual belief? Or is it not also to let us share, with out human faculties of imagination and compassion, the yearning of the creation throughout the ages?
So in a very technical, narrow minded, nit picking sense, all prayer is dishonest until one achieves the beatific vision as a saint in heaven
Of course, that's a totally ridiculous position. It's like saying, I'm not going to try to go to college unless I have my Bachelor of Science degree already in my hands!
And if one for whatever reason feels scruples (probably unjustified of course) one can still cry out for HELP to cast this particular mountain at this particular point in my life into the sea.
Or to repeat the second time what Kim said:
The solution I used is to ask God to make me reach the stage of prayer that I am reciting if I am not there yet. In other words if I see that the prayer does not reflect my state, then I ask God to help me reach the spiritual state reflected in that prayer.