Hank Hanegraaff, the host of the 𝘉𝘪𝘣𝘭𝘦 𝘈𝘯𝘴𝘸𝘦𝘳 𝘔𝘢𝘯 broadcast and the 𝘏𝘢𝘯𝘬 𝘜𝘯𝘱𝘭𝘶𝘨𝘨𝘦𝘥 podcast, dives into a study of The Jesus Prayer, which is simply, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” This transformative prayer is the means by which we can remain constant in prayer throughout the day. It is rooted in the notion that we are to pray constantly. In the words of St. Paul to the Thessalonians, “pray without ceasing.” The goal is to nurture nearness to God. It is to experience the presence of God as Moses did in the flames of fire within a bush that was not consumed. Said Moses: “The Lord our God is near to us whenever we pray to him.” The Jesus Prayer is a means by which, as Peter put it, we may partake of the divine nature. Or in the wisdom of Paul, experience being “in Christ” and experience Christ being “in me.” When we sin, we sever the power cord that connects us to our Maker. Calling on the name of the Lord repairs the severed cord. David’s fevered cry, “Have mercy on me, O God,” reconnected him to the Lover of his soul. And that cry, echoed throughout the New Testament text, is to be our cry as well. Recall the lepers who shouted, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” Or the Canaanite woman who cried out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me.” Likewise, the despised tax collector in Luke’s Gospel beat his breast continuously, crying out, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” All of these and many more serve as illustrations of sinful humanity crying out for mercy. Repeating the prayer, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me, a sinner,” provides a way back from the edge of the abyss. Unless we continuously ask for God’s mercy, we are in danger of forgetting how desperately we need it.
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