Lord, Have Mercy.

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.

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#PrayForSochi

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The question has been asked of me…why #PrayForSochi?  There’s a lot of pressure to host the Olympics well and I believe Russia has the heart and ability to do it!

As the Winter Olympics begin, God has brought my attention to pray for the competitors, the Russian Government, and the host city of Sochi.  It is an incredible rhythm that the world has engaged in where we come together to celebrate our nations in healthy competition in worldwide unity and on peaceful terms!  The implications of such an event have tremendous impact on the world.  While some may try to use this assembly for negative purposes, I believe this sort of gathering has huge potential for Kingdom movement that would be birthed within the time/place of the Olympics and go home with the competitors as they return to their respective countries.  I am inviting you to pray along with me over the next couple of weeks.  You can follow my twitter [@erikthien] for the play-by-play action while I be continually tweet prayers under the hashtag for the Olympics:

#PrayForSochi  

I found a helpful Prayer Calendar online that will help guide some of the themes from Engage Sochi.

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Without | Nouwen

“Somewhere we know that without silence

words lose their meaning,

that without listening speaking no longer heals,

that without distance closeness cannot cure.”

― Henri Nouwen

Silence kindles the fire of the soul so that when you open your mouth to say something it is not drafty, cold, and worthless.

Praying for more of this in my life.