As soon as I saw the first two lines of the psalm response for today on the US Bishops’ website, a refrain began to repeat itself in my head. It isn’t unusual for a song to settle itself in my mind for an hour, a day or – rarely – an entire week, clinging so tightly that I despair of it ever letting go! Sometimes it’s my own fault. Occasionally I can’t get enough of a song, new to me, so I play it repeatedly while driving to learn the lyrics. Once in awhile the trigger is a word or phrase that just pops up from my mental rolodex and has little to do with the song that ensues. (That’s likely the fault of my Aunt Myrtle who could sing anything, creating parodies if no published song sufficed.) But I digress…
The verse (PS 102:2) that I am singing comes from the music of Taize and is a simple, repeated plea to God for recognition and solace. The repetition that is characteristic of Taize music adds to the urgency and intense need of the petitioner.
O Lord, hear my prayer. O Lord, hear my prayer. When I call, answer me. O Lord, hear my prayer. O Lord, hear my prayer. Come and listen to me.*
How could God refuse such a plea, especially if it is sung over and over? The imperatives (Answer me! Come! Listen to me!) seem to strengthen the verse from a request to a command. Who would be so audacious as that with regard to God? Something in me says that God might be waiting for us to be that bold. It is probably dependent on our openness to whatever the answer might be that would perk up God’s ears to the request.
That conclusion tells me how seriously I should consider what my prayer contains. It feels as if there should be no specificity, rather that the prayer would simply be a desire for God to pay attention to my being and the attitude with which I live my life, desiring only a way to respond to God through every step of every day. Might it be as general a request as that? And as comprehensive?
*Taize music is easily found on YouTube.