One of the earliest prayers of the Christian faith is the “Jesus Prayer” commonly recited by the Desert Fathers: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” It’s repeated commonly to remind us of the mercy we are constantly in need of as we live our day to day lives. It is a prayer that I have been contemplating for a while and have found great power in as I have brought it to mind throughout my day. Lamentations 3 reminds us:
19 Remember my affliction and my wanderings,
the wormwood and the gall!
20 My soul continually remembers it
and is bowed down within me.
21 But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
While researching it I came across this quick article by Fr. Richard Rohr and thought it was worth reposting. Also, the song “Lord Have Mercy” by Brady Toops at the end has aided me in singing this prayer and keeping it my mind. Enjoy them both and may God’s mercy be in and throughout your life every single moment of every day.
Why We Need To Say ‘Lord, Have Mercy!’
By Richard Rohr (Originally posted on Huff Post Religion Here on July 28, 2015)
Is it any accident that the official liturgy begins with Kyrie, Eleison? It is the most common Christian short prayer, which is some form of “Have mercy on me!” In time, I have come to see how important this prayer is. It is at the heart of the classic Jesus Prayer, “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me a sinner,” which the Eastern monks recited nonstop whenever possible.
This is not a self-demeaning prayer, nor a self-defeating prayer, nor is it a disempowering prayer. Relying upon mercy, in fact, protects you from the arrogance and pride that wants to judge others, even in your mind. It situates you in freedom from any sense of your own sufficiency or superiority, and affirms a non-need to justify yourself, and thus keeps your heart open for others and for God. It is basically a prayer for detachment from the self, both mind and heart, and its endless games of self-validation. “Lord, have mercy” seeks validation only from God and not from any inner or outer attempts to be worthy, independently “good,” or not-in-need-of-mercy.
Note that when you do not stand under the mercy, your mind almost certainly does one or all of three things: plays the victim, accuses others, or falsely exalts itself. When you honestly ask for mercy, you make all three of these responses unnecessary and, in a way, impossible.
“Lord, have mercy” makes your identity a totally received one (Just like the persons of the Trinity), a gift of grace, and nothing that you need to protect or can claim as your own.