As you know, I am always wondering about Jesus, his mercy and grace and the legacy we leave behind. I love when the Word is revealed to me in a fresh, new way. I'd like to share with you some thoughts on the subject of mercy and extravagant grace.
In the gospel of Luke we read the story of the man who was a tax collector. The tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, "God, have mercy on me, a sinner." Luke 18:13.
Could you pray this prayer daily or even several times a day? I wonder what impact we would have if this became our inner mantra as we look to the Holy Spirit to guide us and to cause us to want to read and pray more each day. And to lead me (us) into sincere personal confession.
This prayer in and of itself is sometimes called the Jesus Prayer. You are supposed to pray the prayer with your head bowed, and once you pray it through one time, you bow from the waist. Then if able you are to, prostrate yourself on the ground. It has also been suggested that you begin by having thirty minutes of total silence so you can listen to God. I struggle with complete silence and prefer a low level of noise throughout the day. I often pray with music in the background even though the Bible says, "Be still and know that I am God." This has never been easy for me to do.
But back to the scriptures and the concept of mercy. Don't we all like the idea of asking God to have mercy on us? If you read the passage from Luke describing the birth of John the Baptist to older parents, you learn that they had been barren and they were not at all sure they could give birth to a child. The people around John's parents actually rejoiced at his birth, exclaiming, "God had great mercy on them." Luke 1:58 "Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown Elizabeth great mercy and they shared her joy." (NIV)
I am more willing than ever to cry out out to Jesus as he passes by,"Lord, Jesus Christ, son of God, (I breathe in) have mercy on me, a sinner, I breathe out)." I often pray this breath prayer as a prayer for personal physical healing or when I have messed up royally or acted like a Pharisee. Living according to the letter of the Law is not going to bring honor and glory to Jesus. And yet I am not worthy of this extravagant mercy. I do not have the inside track on truth because really at best, I am still a sinner.
Until next time, breathe in and breathe out (The Jesus Prayer). Some notes were taken from "The Year Of Living Like Jesus," by Pastor Ed Dobson. It's just another book I am recommending.