“WORLDPRAYER-LORD HAVE MERCY”
The media make us virtual witnesses to the pain and suffering
from all over the world. “The pain of the world”,
as I started to call that pain, each one of us has to find out
how to deal with that. Searching for an answer I did give special
attention to those, most of us, who are not able to offer direct
and concrete help, and to those whose natures are more contemplative
then active. For them, I found: prayer is one of the possible
This is not a surprising answer, one can say. Since praying
is the least we can do. Nevertheless, this prayer-answer has
to be actualised over and over again. Each generation, each society,
has to convince itself of the necessity of establishing its foundation
in prayer. In the essay “praying for the world” one
can find an attempt to that. See the text before.
Confronted with the question if there is a prayer especially
suited for the relief of nowadays extremely increasing pain and
suffering, I came, without any effort of my own self, to the
prayer: “lord have mercy”. Without my own effort,
that means: the prayer itself provided the answer. Everybody
with some experience with praying the same prayer repeatedly,
knows of the existence of this phenomenon.
Anyhow, “lord have mercy” I consider the most appropriate
prayer for the relief of the pain of the world. Since the prayer
is in english, since it is
concise and intense, the prayer will be understood and can be
said by almost everyone. Moreover, the prayer has the power of
thousands and thousands of years of repetition. The plea is as
old as mankind. Sadly, tribes and nations have been fighting
each other since the beginning of history. The defeated pleaded
for their lives to be spared.
Although the prayer is at times exclusively associated with
the so-called jesusprayer, that makes it no less old, no less
universal. On the contrary. The christian jesusprayer can be
seen as the metaphorical continuation of the universal one. Metaphorical,
since it refers in the first place to our souls. The same do
its many versions from all other religions. By repeatedly praying
the devotee evokes mercy in his own heart. Progressively. Since
his mercy is in – and by praying present. By his prayer the
devotee re-consecrates himself as well as the world.
As a reminder: the jesusprayer comes from the well-known moneychanger
who, contrary to the self-sufficient pharisee, in the temple
looked away and prayed: “god, have mercy on me, sinner” (luke
18:13). As the jesusprayer this became, in full: “lord
jesus christ, son of god, have mercy on me”. The history
of the prayer in this form is very old. The first ones known
to have prayed it as repeated prayer were the so-called desert
fathers, the first christian monks from the 3 rd and 4 th century
The use of the prayer by christians may have a long history,
nevertheless it is incorrect to think the prayer “lord
have mercy” is an exclusively christian prayer. On the
contrary. As said before, the prayer is much older. Almost every
religion has own versions. Far much older ones then the christian
one. Moreover since christianity is not claiming any longer to
bear the exclusive truth, most of the nowadays christians acknowledge
the existence of other lords then jesus only. Recognising the
one and only truth behind them.
Because of all of this I don’t have any doubt: “lord
have mercy” is the most suitable as well as acceptable
prayer to serve as the one and only prayer for the relief of
nowadays worldwide pain and suffering. Everybody will understand
it and can pray it, all over the world. The lord to whom we address
our prayer may be jesus, buddha, allah, krishna,
or whichever lord our heart goes out to. Since prayer is not
religion-bound but universal, we can choose to keep the lord
unnamed. Anonymus. Even letting him out of our prayer. Praying: have mercy!
So, let us pray “lord have mercy”. Unnoticeable
silent if not in thought. In the rhythm of our breath. In response
to pain and suffering - concrete and general. As continuously
Because of the universal character of the prayer, it is possible
to give this a worldwide impact. As nowadays the world is as
a little village, where everyone determines one another’s
well-being, the world passionately needs one collective prayer.
That prayer, that worldprayer, is “lord have mercy”.
Whether addressing the lord of one’s heart or leaving him
unnamed – always does it express we acknowledge the reality
of another one’s pain. And that our heart was touched.
that anyone in pain may experience relief, may receive help,
may meet with compassion. Will be blessed with purification. Whoever, wherever, at wherever time. May it be now, in the future or in the past. Praying is beyond time and place.
Let us also pray “lord have mercy” for the countless many aid
workers, for those hero’s who offer direct concrete
help. As signs of hope they deserve our solidarity and support.
They do need that.
Of course we pray “lord have mercy” for ourselves
too. This is not selfish. As an antidote to hubris, to hidden selfcontentment, it prevents us from using the pain
of others for ignoring own pain and fears. Moreover, praying for ourselves,
we soon arrive at praying for others. Own pain and fears then transform
into sources of compassion for the pain of others. There is
no difference between praying for ourselves and praying for
others. As there is no difference between others and ourselves.