Give ear to my words, O Lord,
consider my sighing.
Listen to my cry for help,
my King and my God,
for to you I pray.
In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait in expectation.
Prayer is being heard by God. Prayer is based on the amazing reality that God hears us. God hears our words. God hears our hearts. As the psalmist says, God hears our sighing, our cries for help, our requests.
Being deeply, accurately heard is vital to any relationship. To know that our hearts are being heard is to have the experience of being known. To know that our hearts are heard and that we are met with empathy and compassion is to know that we are loved.
What the psalmist is affirming in this text is that God always hears us deeply, accurately, with empathy and compassion. Our sighs, our cries for help, our requests all matter to God because we matter to God.
It is not always easy to trust that this is true. It is not easy to trust that our words and our hearts are heard by our Maker. Sometimes we may pray with great passion and urgency. Sometimes we may pray with great hesitation and uncertainty. Either way, we may find ourselves wondering if we are fooling ourselves by imagining that our prayers are being heard.
Most people of faith, most people who have ever prayed, have times of doubt about being heard by God. We may fear that God is not listening, that God does not care, that we are not good enough, or that our prayers are not good enough, to matter to God.
But these fears are rooted in our experiences with other humans. They are not rooted in who God is. God is a God who has promised to hear our prayers with love and compassion.
When the Israelites of long ago struggled to trust that God heard their prayers, they would sometimes review together the ways they had seen God respond to their prayers in the past. Together they would review these times in order to better rest in the promise that God is a God who hears.
This is something that would also be good for us to do. It can be helpful to review the times when we have experienced God’s response to the cries of our heart. Times that confirmed to us that we are heard, that we matter.
God is a God who hears. Our prayers are received by the loving, tender heart of God. Prayer is the amazing reality of God hearing us.
You are the-God-who-hears.
You hear my words.
You hear my sighs, my cries for help,
You hear me with a loving,
compassionate, caring heart.
Strengthen my faith.
Remind me of all the ways
I have experienced you
responding to me,
all the times I have seen
the evidence that you have heard me.
Thank you for hearing me.
Thank you for hearing me
with a heart of love.
As you sit in quiet, reflect for a few moments on the-God-who-hears. Reflect on the God-who-hears your sighs and cries for help with compassion. As you are ready, speak your heart to God. Thank God for hearing you today.
from An Enduring Embrace: Experiencing the Love at the Heart of Prayer,
by Juanita Ryan, 2012