One of the phrases that Benedictine monks regularly use to help them stay in a meditative state begins, “Lord, have mercy on me a sinner….” The first few times I used it for myself, I finished it with phrases like, and help me shine Your Light or and help me be like Christ.
When you first start to say those first words over and over, you are reminding yourself of your own human-ness. We are all sinners. We have no rights to judge other people for their actions because we have taken actions that are equally horrible in the eyes of a perfect God. Luckily, that same God forgives us, so that the phrase, have mercy on me, a sinner, also means we can grasp that mercy and find peace.
In my perpetual quest to learn to give up the control of my life to Jesus so that I experience His peace, I am discovering some not so pleasant truths about myself. I am always helping people out, it seems like to me. So, I could pat myself on the back and say I’m doing pretty well. I have a servant’s heart.
Here’s the problem. Whenever I get stressed, I can get really angry about all this “helping out” that I am doing. That reaction seems more like a martyr’s heart to me than a servant’s heart. In other words, many times when I am doing things for others, am I doing it deep down because it feeds my feelings of self-worth instead of because of my unselfish love for others?
So, as I processed these thoughts lately, it came to me that I would probably be a lot happier, calmer, more peaceful in life if I could tame the beast that is my pride.
But, do I really have the guts to say the prayer that gets me help with that one?
I’ve prayed for humility before, usually by hedging. Give me more humility, please God, but please don’t make the lesson painful. That was usually the gist of my prayers.
This morning, as I began my phrase, God, have mercy on me a sinner, I knew what the ending needed to be. But, I had to take several deep breaths before I could finish the statement.
Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner, and make me humble.
Praying for humility with no qualifiers and really wanting it means I have to be willing to experience pain. The Bible teaches that through perseverance we learn patience and through patience we build character.
I am not looking forward to the lessons I am going to be facing as I continue to pray to God to remove my pride. But I believe in His blessings for the humble enough to know that this is one prayer I must have the guts to pray if I expect to allow God to work to the good what He has planned for my life.
His will, not mine. His omnipotence, my humility.
What prayer have you not had the guts to pray? Get on your knees now and pray it. God will bless you for it, even if the initial answer seems truly painful.