“O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.” – Ps. 102:2

I struggle with receiving. I don’t like to ask anyone for anything that I feel might burden them, and while the intention seems innocent, I have begun to understand how it is my pride manifesting itself and keeping me from deepening in humility. I would rather “handle” problems on my own than lean on others. Of course, I often do this in my relationship with God too. I try to work on myself to be “perfect” for Him, not humbling myself to accept that He is the only one who is perfection. Not accepting that everything I do on my own is an illusion that keeps me separated from Him. It only makes sense that since I struggle with receiving His help, I also struggle with asking for it.

This psalm is full of the beautiful imagery and desperation of someone in crisis turning to their Lord. This is beautiful, and yet it strikes me that I do turn to the Lord in crisis but struggle to do so at any other time. It's easy to take back the illusion of control when everything is going fine, and it takes a “wake-up” call of desperate circumstances to remind me that I am completely and wholly dependent on God’s mercy.

Though the language of this psalm is definitely comforting for times of trial, I read a deeper invitation in the plea, “Oh lord, hear my prayer.” It is an opportunity to simply invite God into my prayers, thoughts, feelings, and day regardless of whether I am desperate or not.

My prayer for this Lent is that we may receive the grace of awareness of how utterly dependent we are on God and how much He delights in our prayers. We need only to ask.

How often do I approach God with concrete requests for my personal and spiritual growth? Are there any “illusions” of control in my daily life that I can invite God into?

Liana Merrill