I know a great deal about the mercy of God because I have firsthand experience with the Judge himself. I have stood in the line that leads into His courtroom more than I want to admit. I have found my seat in the crowded gallery and observed for myself how He deals with those who have done wrong. I have verified for myself that our good God deserves His bad reputation!
In the courtroom of the Scriptures, I have seen His mercy in action as murderers, adulterers, slanderers, and outcasts stand before Him all with one simple request: Lord, have mercy — the most prayed prayer in the Bible.
“Lord, have mercy” was the shout of blind men sitting roadside with nothing to lose. (Matthew 9:27; Matthew 20:30)
“Lord, have mercy” was what ten numb lepers cried from a distance, energized with the hope of a new life. (Luke 17:13 nkjv)
“Lord, have mercy” was the petition of a foreign Canaanite woman when she wanted Jesus to heal her suffering daughter. (Matthew 15:22)
“Lord, have mercy” was the plea of King David in times of fear, in moments when he bordered on insanity, and at points when he put his kingdom at risk. This “man after [God’s] own heart” (Acts 13:22) asked for mercy more than anyone else in the Bible.
Lord, have mercy is the most prayed prayer in the Bible. And get this: there is not one time in the Bible where God denies this request!
This is the most prayed prayer because God — the just and all-powerful Creator — is most merciful. He delights to show leniency to people. Throughout the Scriptures, God lavishly dispenses his loving-kindness.
Many have experienced the life-altering effects of the mercy prayer.
Terry is a homeless man whose knees are so damaged that his biggest challenge each day is crossing the street before the light turns traffic against him. He and I have had many conversations. When he’s drunk, he screams at God at the top of his lungs. One time he was screaming at me, “I’m just a gnat to God! In the same way I crush a bug, God has crushed me!” When the alcohol wore off, I asked Terry if he wanted to know what the most answered prayer in the Bible was. He did, and he has been one of my proofreaders for this book.
I have seen the mercy of God — and the process of seeking it — transform many, from sixteen-year-old sex addicts to men who are living with the consequences of ruining their marriages. One time, I saw a man sitting on a curb weeping uncontrollably. He couldn’t speak. All I knew to do was to sit next to him, wrap my arms around his shoulders, and whisper, “God is merciful and desires to lessen your pain. Pray with me: Lord, have mercy… Lord, have mercy… Lord, have mercy.”
Sometimes just the act of praying the prayer is transformative. Just the recognition of the compassion, grace, and loving-kindness of God is enough to sooth a wounded soul. Just the anticipation of God’s mercy is transformational in and of itself.
So let us immerse ourselves in the truth that God is compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in love. Let us make the most prayed prayer of the Bible our most uttered request as well. Let us practice seeking God’s mercy with every beat of our hearts, remembering that nowhere in the Bible does God deny a single request for mercy.
Excerpted with permission from The Mercy Prayer: The One Prayer Jesus Always Answers by Robert Gelinas, copyright Thomas Nelson.
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God always hears your cry, Lord have mercy! Always. In what area of your life do you deeply need His mercy today? Don’t back away from asking the prayer that He always answers! Come share with us on our blog about God’s unlimited mercy — the kind that has even earned Him a bad reputation! ~ Devotionals Daily