Do we love the Lord because we are heard or are we heard because we love the Lord? It sounds like the psalmist would opt for the former but then there are plenty of passages (including this week's Gospel) that lean toward the latter. I’m going to do the Lutheran two-step and say it is both and. We love the Lord because the cords of death that choked the life out of us have been loosened. But then we wouldn’t have called on the name of the Lord in our anguish and distress if we didn’t trust the Lord to hear. And trust is just a five letter word for love. The Lutheran song is that the Lord loves us regardless of whether we love the Lord or not (the melody of grace) but maybe the Lord is equally adept at dancing the two step both and. The Lord answers because we love the Lord and the Lord loves because we ask. Grace certainly exists apart from the call and response relationship of love but it is not nearly as noticeable as when faith two steps with the Lord.