We all say things we don’t mean, or rather things that are incomplete expressions of what we think we mean, or perhaps things we wish we meant.
This is often what my prayer is like.
For instance: “give me only your love and your grace, that’s enough for me”, from Ignatius’ great Suscipe. I say it and say it and say it, and my words are less a profession of faith than a petition that I may be so faithful. I want those things to be enough for me, but I’m a brat (or maybe just a human?) and still want more.
Yesterday we prayed the psalm “Lord, let us see your kindness and grant us your salvation”. I sang from a weary place, and even as I was singing I felt as if I were begging. But the truth is I have seen God’s kindness, every day of my life, and I have seen salvation in the most unlikely places.
I have gotten what I’ve asked for, and that which should be all that I need. Yet I say “no, God, your kindness is not enough. Salvation is not enough. I want control. I want my way”.
No matter what we mean when we say or sing the words, they are still ours, waiting to change us and for us to bring them to life. And they are still heard, no matter how weak and silly we may be.