1894) A Simple Way to Pray (3/3)

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KYRIE ELEISON (Latin),  ‘Lord, Have Mercy’

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     (…continued)  The final phrase of this simple prayer is, “Lord, have mercy.”  Mercy is a wonderful word.  It is a word one who is weak and needs help will use in asking for assistance from one who is stronger and able to help.  This is a description our position before God.  It is as we used to sing in Sunday School: “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so, little ones to Him belong, we are weak but He is strong.

     Mercy is a word we use in asking for undeserved favor or blessings.  Most certainly, anything we have already received from God has been freely given, and anything we could ever ask for from God is undeserved.  Therefore, ‘mercy’ is an appropriate word to use when coming into God’s presence.

     Near the beginning of every worship service, many congregations sing some form of the ‘Kyrie,’ a simple responsive reading that the church has used since the fourth century.  In our Lutheran hymnal, the pastor brings before the Lord several basic petitions, and the congregation, responds each time by singing a three sentence prayer, ‘Lord, have mercy.’  Lord, have mercy; or in other words: “Lord, I know I don’t deserve it, but give me a break.  Lord, the world is such a mess, have mercy on us all.  I don’t know what to do or where to turn anymore, so Lord, have mercy.  Lord, have mercy on the sick and the dying, on those who mourn, on those in despair on those facing natural disasters, on those persecuted for the faith, and on all of us.  Lord, have mercy.”

     This is a great way to end this wonderful little prayer.

     We don’t have to know what to tell God what to do in each and every situation.  How can we know what needs to be done?  We must acknowledge that we are willing to trust God to do what is best.  And then we just ask for his mercy.  This simple little prayer fits every situation:  “As you know, and as you will, Lord have mercy.”

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Isaiah 55:6-7  —  Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake their way, and the unrighteous their thoughts; let them return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

Matthew 15:21-22  —  Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.  A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me!  My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”

Mark 10:46-47  —  Then they came to Jericho.  As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging.  When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Luke 17:11-13  —  On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee.  As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him.  Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”

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As you know, and as you will, Lord have mercy.  Amen.

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