The mercy prayer

the mercy prayer

What if the mercy prayer, “Lord, have mercy,” was not only the most prayed prayer in the Bible but in your life as well? Many Christians through the ages believed that this should be the case.

We have so much to learn from Christians who are different than us.

I grew up as a Southern Baptist. Then I spent eight wonderful years in a Presbyterian church. Today, I’m the pastor of an independent, interdenominational church. We aren’t officially associated with any particular denomination not because we believe the denominations are bad; rather, we desire to look back over the last two thousand years and see what we have to learn from all the different groups of people that have followed Christ. The different labels – Baptist, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, Lutheran, Episcopal, Catholic, and the list goes on – simply represent the variety of ways and approaches others have taken in following Jesus.

One denomination has majored on the mercy of God: the Eastern Orthodox church. For almost two thousand years this segment of Christianity has made the mercy of God central to their understanding of the meaning of following Jesus – especially when it comes to prayer. They recognize that Daniel was right when he prayed,

We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. – Daniel 9:18

The Eastern Orthodox church is rather unknown to most Western Christians. These followers of Jesus are mostly located in Russia, Greece, the Middle East, and Africa. When it comes to understanding the most prayed prayer, we would do well to learn from them.

The Mercy Prayer in the Psalms

Their theologians first recognized our tendency to pray for God’s mercy. They were the ones to remark on how common it was for the people of God to cry out to Him for mercy in the Psalms:

Answer me when I call to You,

O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer. – Psalm 4:1

Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am faint;

O Lord, heal me, for my bones are in agony. – Psalm 6:2

O Lord, see how my enemies persecute me!

Have mercy and lift me up from the gates of death. – Psalm 9:13

Hear my cry for mercy

as I call to You for help, as I lift up my hands toward Your Most Holy Place. – Psalm 28:2

To You, O Lord, I called;

to the Lord I cried for mercy. – Psalm 30:8

It was also the Orthodox that noticed that the one sentence spoken to Jesus more than any other was, “Kyrie eleison.” This branch of Christianity pointed out that all of us are in a line leading to God’s courtroom, and we all have one hope in that setting: that God is merciful.

They even began to ask, could it be that the closer you get to God the more you pray the mercy prayer? What if our closeness to Christ actually increases the frequency of our requests for His mercy?

We normally think the opposite – something like this: I was living a really bad life and was in need of mercy. But once I embraced Jesus and asked Him into my heart, He took the burden of sin off of me. Now I can leave behind the consequences of my sin, move on, and grow closer to God.

Our Mercy Prayer Intensifies the Closer We Get to God

Eastern Orthodox believers say the opposite is true. Our recognition of our need for mercy only intensifies the closer we get to God. It’s as if the cross awakens our appetite for His compassion. We actually desire God’s mercy more the closer we get to Him, not only because we see our shortcomings in light of His perfection but also because knowing God is knowing that He is merciful.

This is a lesson we can see illustrated in the tabernacle found in the Old Testament.

The architecture of this ancient worship space communicated the spiritual life in tangible reality. As worshippers walked into the tabernacle, they saw a large courtyard with a number of furnishings signifying different aspects of knowing God. The large basin of water represented cleansing. Burning incense signified the prayers of God’s people. Furthest away from the entrance, deepest within the tabernacle, was the Holy of Holies. To enter that space was to enter the presence of God. The closer one was to this most holy place, the closer one was to God’s glory. Very few people were actually allowed to enter this sacred room. But if you were to go in beyond the veil and enter, you would see the ark of the covenant – the throne of God. What was the name given to the throne? The mercy seat!

Watch The Mercy Prayer Video

Excerpted from The Mercy Prayer: The One Prayer Jesus Always Answers by Robert Gelinas, copyright Thomas Nelson, 2013.

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Your Turn

How has your understanding for your need for mercy changed as you’ve grown closer to God? As you’ve sought His face has it intensified? Come join the conversation on our blog! We would love to hear from you!

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One Methods:Rosary PrayerCommunity Q&A

The Chaplet of Divine Mercy is a beautiful set of prayers similar to a Rosary. In fact, it’s said on Rosary beads. It was composed by Saint Faustina Kowałska following a series of visions she had from Jesus Christ, who revealed Himself as the Divine Mercy.

Steps

  1. the mercy prayer
  2. the mercy prayer Say these Optional Opening Prayers.
    • You expired, Jesus, but the source of life gushed forth for souls, and the ocean of mercy opened up for the whole world. O Fount of Life, unfathomable Divine Mercy, envelop the whole world and empty Yourself out upon us.
    • O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a Fountain of Mercy for us, I trust in You! (Repeat 3 times)
  3. the mercy prayer Pray the Lord’s Prayer.
    • Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.
  4. the mercy prayer Say the Hail Mary.
    • Hail, Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the Fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
  5. the mercy prayer Say the Apostle’s Creed.
    • I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord; He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of the Virgin Mary; He suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, died, and was buried; He descended to Hell; on the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father; He will come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.
  6. the mercy prayer Say the Eternal Father.
    • Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.
  7. the mercy prayer Say “For the Sake...” prayer on the ten small bead of each decade.
    • For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
  8. the mercy prayer

    Repeat for the remaining decades.

  9. the mercy prayer Conclude with reciting the Trisagion (“thrice holy”) 3 times.
    • Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
  10. the mercy prayer Say this Closing Prayer (optional).
    • Eternal God, in whom Mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion — inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself.
  11. the mercy prayer Say the Divine Mercy Prayer (optional)
    • O greatly Merciful God, Infinite Goodness, today all mankind calls out from the abyss of its misery to Your mercy—to Your compassion, O God; and it is with its mighty voice of misery that it cries out. Gracious God do not reject the prayer of this earth’s exiles! O Lord, Goodness beyond our understanding, Who are acquainted with our misery through and through, and know that by our own power we cannot ascend to You, we implore You; anticipate us with Your Grace and keep on increasing Your mercy in us, that we may faithfully do Your holy will all through our life and at death’s hour. Let the omnipotence of Your mercy shield us from the darts of our salvation’s enemies, that we may with confidence, as Your children await Your final coming – that day known to You alone. And we expect to obtain everything promised us by Jesus in spite of all our wretchedness. For Jesus is our Hope:Through His merciful Heart as through an open gate we pass through to heaven.
  12. the mercy prayer

    End with the Sign of the Cross.

Community Q&A

Add New Question

  • When do I pray the divine mercy prayer?

    wikiHow Contributor

    Although the Chaplet can be said anytime, Our Lord asked specifically that it be prayed at 3pm (the Hour of Divine Mercy, which is the hour that He died). Also, He ordered that a Novena of Chaplets be prayed from Good Friday to Easter Saturday (the day before Divine Mercy Sunday) for certain intentions that He gave.

  • When do you begin saying the Divine Mercy rosary?

    wikiHow Contributor

    You can begin saying it when you want to (it’s traditionally said at 3 o’clock in the afternoon). Try saying it during Lent, or especially on Good Friday.

  • I missed a day. Can I still do the novena?

    wikiHow Contributor

    Yes! If you miss a day, you should say the prayers of the day you missed when you say the prayers for the next day. If you miss several days, then you might want to start over.

  • Can I pray anywhere?

    wikiHow Contributor

    Absolutely, the only thing that matters in praying is your connection with God, no one and no where else is connected.

  • Can I pray at 3 a.m.?

    Steven Solheim

    Yes, God is listening to you 24/7. He wants a real relationship with you and is not bound by time.

  • Can I pray the rosary while in bed?

    wikiHow Contributor

    Of course. You can pray the rosary anywhere.

  • Can I pray when I find out somebody I know has died?

    wikiHow Contributor

    Of course you can. Praying for the dead can grant them peace.

  • If I pray in bed in my mind, does the Lord know?

    wikiHow Contributor

    He always hears your words, whether you speak them or not.

  • How many days do I pray?

    wikiHow Contributor

    You can pray any time. It is probably best to pray at least one time a day, but you can pray more if you feel it is necessary.

  • Is praying with my mind as valuable as praying with my lips in silence?

Show more answers

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Tips

  • As with the Rosary, while it is helpful to have beads (and the Chaplet is easier to say on a full five-decade Rosary than on a one-decade or ring rosary), it is not necessary to have the beads. You can say the prayers on your hands by using one hand to count the five decades and the other hand to count the ten prayers by counting the fingers twice. However, using rosary beads is easier.
  • There is also a Novena of Divine Mercy traditionally prayed between Good Friday and the Feast of Divine Mercy (the Sunday after Easter, traditionally known as Low Sunday).
  • As with the Rosary, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy is an indulgenced prayer (see the Marians’ website for details); however, it is NOT magic. Think about what you’re saying, and try to draw a little closer to God and a little further from sin as you say the Chaplet.
  • Another way of reflecting whilst praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy is to focus on the Five Holy Wounds of Christ: His head, His side, His two hands and two feet (alternatively, His side wound, His two hand wounds, and His two feet). Pray each decade while reflecting on the many sins we commit with our head (mind), our hands, our feet, etc. For example, we commit the sin of gossip with our mouth and our mind, the sin of assault with our feet and hands, the sin of envy with our eyes, etc.
  • Offer each decade for a person who particularly needs prayer, e.g., a sick relative.

Warnings

  • Praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy is a good way of reminding yourself that God is God, and you are not, and that you do need Jesus Christ as your Saviour. It’s also a healthy reminder that while we all have sinned, God is ready and willing to forgive us, but not just so we can go out and sin again.

Things You’ll Need

  • Standard Rosary beads or 10 fingers

  • Image or icon of the Divine Mercy (optional)

Article Info

Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 155,338 times.

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In 1998, the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas produced Morning and Evening Prayer of the Sisters of Mercy, basing text on the English translation of the psalms and canticles taken from the Liturgical Psalter: Text for Study and Comment, 1994, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc.

At a leadership development program of Sisters of Mercy in Panama City, Panama, in November 2011, the sisters expressed a desire for an electronic version of their prayer book. Recognizing that many hands make light work, they decided to work collaboratively over several months to accomplish the task of digitizing their daily prayer book. The web site is not meant to replace the Morning and Evening Prayer book; rather, it is a supplement for use during travel or at times when a sister or associate cannot access her own book.

This is a private site open for use by Sisters of Mercy, Associates of Mercy and anyone who wishes to say morning and evening prayer.

mercyprayers.org

In 1998, the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas produced Morning and Evening Prayer of the Sisters of Mercy, basing text on the English translation of the psalms and canticles taken from the Liturgical Psalter: Text for Study and Comment, 1994, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc.

At a leadership development program of Sisters of Mercy in Panama City, Panama, in November 2011, the sisters expressed a desire for an electronic version of their prayer book. Recognizing that many hands make light work, they decided to work collaboratively over several months to accomplish the task of digitizing their daily prayer book. The web site is not meant to replace the Morning and Evening Prayer book; rather, it is a supplement for use during travel or at times when a sister or associate cannot access her own book.

This is a private site open for use by Sisters of Mercy, Associates of Mercy and anyone who wishes to say morning and evening prayer.

mercyprayers.org

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