“Out of the Depths I Cry to You” (ELW 600)
1 Out of the depths I cry to you;
O Lord God, hear me calling.
Incline your ear to my distress
in spite of my rebelling.
Do not regard my sinful deeds.
Send me the grace my spirit needs;
without it I am nothing.
2 All things you send are full of grace;
you crown our lives with favor.
All our good works are done in vain
without our Lord and Savior.
We praise you for the gift of faith;
you save us from the grip of death;
our lives are in your keeping.
3 In you alone, O God, we hope,
and not in our own merit.
We rest our fears in your good word;
uphold our fainting spirit.
Your promised mercy is my fort,
my comfort, and my strong support;
I wait for it with patience.
4 My soul is waiting for you, Lord,
as one who longs for morning;
no watcher waits with greater hope
than I for your returning.
I hope as Israel in the Lord,
who sends redemption through the Word.
Praise God for grace and mercy!
In Martin Luther’s “Out of the Depths I Cry to You”—a paraphrase of Psalm 130—we hear the prayer of desperation, of last resort, of one begging for deliverance while able to offer nothing in return.
This sort of prayer is often looked down on by religious folks because it seems to treat God as a backup plan, only turning to God when all other routes are exhausted. While Christians certainly ought to pray in all times and places, it is also true that God delights in answering prayers like this. There is no pretense here, no bargaining with God as though we have something to offer, nor is there a claim of entitlement to deliverance. All these props fall away, so that all that remains is me, undeserving and totally dependent, and God, gracious and merciful, providing everything I need.
God of deliverance, make me to rely always on you, turning to you in every time of need, through Jesus Christ. Amen.