Our church has a fairly free form type of service order.  The general idea is laid out, the songs listed and perhaps a few special events.  We seldom have phrases or prayers recited weekly.

Perhaps we are the worst for this omission?

I have attended a church lately where they have a Christ candle.  This reminds us that God is with us during the service.  And the church attenders can say this phrase off by heart. 

Another phrase is “Lord, have mercy.”

At first I thought this was blasphemous.  My own background teaches that God has brought us mercy in Jesus.  As one phrase states, “Mercy kissed justice.”  And love was fulfilled – God has forgiven us and we are his children.

Until I realized that day-by-day the unfolding of life requires “existential” mercy.  We pray, not perfunctorily or out of only duty.  We pray because God hears and answers.  We pray because we recognize that, given our current circumstances, our stupidity would merit the consequence of punishment. 

And we want mercy.  So we pray for mercy.

A phrase to remember – “Love, have mercy.”