June 26, 2013 by lellielieb
“Lord have mercy on us. Christ have mercy on us. Lord have mercy on us.”
I was taught that rote prayer is not a good thing. I took this to mean any prayer that is repeated over and over again and I viewed these prayers as a sort of heathenish chant. I must admit that I was a bit confused by this idea because Jesus himself told us to pray “The Lord’s Prayer” in “The Sermon on the Mount.” I have heard people being critical of prayers that were written down, as for special ceremonies or events. I guess the idea is that if prayers are given that much thought before hand, they cease to be spontaneous and only spontaneous prayer is acceptable. I’m not exactly sure what the issue was. In any case, this made me wary of anything besides personal, spontaneous prayer.
When I read the Jan Karon’s books about Father Tim, the wonderful Episcopal priest who serves the fictional North Carolina mountain town of Mitford, I began to change my mind. I was intrigued by his use of The Book of Common Prayer and I adopted his habit of “praying the prayer that never fails: Thy will be done.” I have been blessed beyond measure by learning to honestly and humbly pray those four short words.
Recently, I’ve been moved by the prayer above. It’s part of the Morning Prayer service and I’ve read it in other several places. I recently heard a worship song that includes it. I’ve come to regard this little prayer as both a weapon and a shield. Sometimes there just isn’t time for anything else. Sometimes my soul cries out for mercy and I am always helped.