Have Mercy

“Oh, Lord GOD! You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too difficult for You! 

Jeremiah 32:17

There are times in our lives when things don’t go as we thought they would. The unexpected always has a way of popping up, unannounced, interrupting our preconceived notions, testing us, putting us through trials for which we are totally unprepared. Life is messy, and when things get so out of control that they are basically a dumpster fire, prayer suddenly becomes our BFF. We instinctively know it can help turn things around.

But prayer without repentance is merely a hollow recitation of words. Repentance is what gives prayer power, because its prerequisite is humility. A humble attitude is the polar opposite of pride and arrogance. It’s the one thing that makes us stop and realize the situation is beyond our purview, beyond our ability to control. It forces us to recognize just how imperfect we are, that we aren’t as smart or wonderful as we’d like to think.

Humility is, in fact, the key that unlocks the door of repentance. Without it, we cannot turn or perspective in another direction, away from who we are and toward whom we are meant to become, which is what repentance does for us. Even king David realized the importance of humility and repentance as a primmer to prayer when he wrote:

“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.”

Psalm 51:1-4

Sometimes the most powerful prayer we can pray is simply: “Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.” It’s saying, I’m not in control, and I’m at a loss for what to do, only You can do this, Lord. That’s why the tax collector’s prayer was so powerful; he knew that there was nothing he could do to help himself – not a lot of pretty words, or creative justifications, or a laundry listing of the many things that he thought he had done right or better than anyone else. He knew that he didn’t know, that when he measured himself against the precepts of the Almighty, he was found lacking – only God’s mercy could save him from the abyss, nothing less.

So, today I say, Lord have mercy. Have mercy on me, for I am a sinner. Have mercy on this stiff-necked nation, for it has lost its way. The great city on a hill that You raised up has lost its light, those who You set up as salt for the world have lost our saltiness. We are not worthy to even raise our eyes heavenward, for we have failed You in so many ways. But with You, there is forgiveness, there is mercy, so I also say:

“Create in us a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within us. Do not cast us from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from us. Restore to us the joy of your salvation and grant us a willing spirit, to sustain us.” Amen.

Psalm 51:10-12

~SLM

Prayer of Gratitude

I am in awe of You, Lord, that You would call my name from among the millions of others You could speak. I am grateful for it. Even when I ran like hell in the opposite direction, alone and lonely, confused and afraid, You called to me, reaching out to take my hand and draw me toward You. Your loving kindness has blessed my life in so many ways – ways that I’m still discovering – that have lifted me up, when I needed lifting and knocked me down a peg, when I’ve gotten too full of myself.

Thank You for choosing me, Lord, for seeing in me what I could not, what I would not see in myself. You have brought me in and covered me with Your mercy, given me purpose, given me life.

From a parched and dry land you have led me to streams of “living” water that I may drink fully of Your grace. You have fed me with the bread of Your presence, Your mana, the mana that is every word that comes from Your mouth.

I will praise Your name all of my days, until my last breath.  ~ Amen

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Based on Matthew 18:12-14 ( The Parable of the Lost Sheep), “Reckless Love” by Cory Asbury is a favorite of mine and is the inspiration for the above prayer.

Lenice’s Prayer

Thank you, Lord, for these dirty dishes.

I love this prayer for its simple, direct sentiment that’s filled with so many implied blessings; the food which caused the dishes to be soiled, the ability to prepare the food, the place in which to prepare it, and the family who shares its delicious goodness. My friend Lenice keeps it next to the kitchen sink as a reminder that God’s blessings can be found even in this most mundane of daily chores.

~SLM

Who I Am, A Prayer

Help me Lord to remember who I am and what I am supposed to be. You have called me to be a light in the darkness, a city on a hill, and that means I am to be a reflection of you. Help me, Lord, to be a mirror of your goodness, radiating your love into a world of brokenness and disillusionment, a world that’s lost and frightened, that needs you more than they can even know. Give me words to speak life, not destruction, words to lift others up and give them hope, to comfort and heal, not blame and accuse. In all that I do, fill my heart with your compassion that I may glorify your name, Lord, not take it in vain. ~ Amen