There is probably no prayer in the history of Christianity that has been prayed so frequently and intimately as the prayer “Lord, have mercy.” . . . This cry for mercy is possible only when we are willing to confess that somehow, somewhere, we ourselves have something to do with our losses. Crying for mercy is a recognition that blaming God, the world, or others for our losses does not do full justice to the truth of who we are. At the moment we are willing to take responsibility, even for the pain we didn’t cause directly, blaming is converted into an acknowledgment of our own role in human brokenness.
The prayer for God’s mercy comes from a heart that knows that this human brokenness is not a fatal condition of which we have become the sad victims, but the bitter fruit of the human choice to say no to love.