Have Mercy



The light shines in the darkness but the darkness did not comprehend it… John 1


 I put the nails in your hands, swung the hammer with all my might

Left you hangin’ there Lord, bleeding from Your side

Well I hated your words, they were just too true

What I wanted was salvation, But not, not through you


I am a creature of contradictions. When things are going wrong, I cry out to God, I lean on God, I am keenly aware of God’s work in my life, helping me navigate difficult waters.

But when things get better, as they inevitably do, I take back control, stop leaning on God, figuring I can do it all by myself.

Lord, Have mercy.

This should be my daily prayer: Have mercy on me, a sinner. Whether in good times or struggles I need to remember my deep dependence on my Creator in whom I live and move and have my being. (Acts 17:28)

The song Have Mercy was written nearly twenty years ago by a friend of mine, Johnny Unger, when he was part of a band called Feedback (which later became Rockford Special). Two of the original band members, Chris Teichroeb and Byron Wiebe, are part of the Good Friday Blues Band and when Byron suggested this song, I knew we had to do it.

The song is a confessional prayer. It minces no words, calls it like it is: I have chosen to ignore you, I want salvation on my terms and every time I do that, I mock your death. I may as well have been there, swinging the hammer.

Lord I know I’m a sinner, It’s been by your grace I’ve been saved

Oh I don’t deserve it, But there it is…

Thank you for what you did for me, Please forgive me for my sins

You put down your crown and you came for me Lord

Please don’t let me forget where I stand

Right there, in those last two lines, that’s the nugget: While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. He didn’t wait for us to get our shit together or wait for us to stop falling short, he just demonstrated his love for us by dying for us anyway. That’s mercy.

How have you experienced God’s mercy in your life?



One response to “Have Mercy

  • JAKE the bassplayer (CT)

    The inspiration for this song came (in part at least) from a story Johnny had heard about monks who were learning to “pray without ceasing.” From what I remember, the monks would repeat a phrase with each breath in & out. “Lord Jesus,” (breath in) “Have mercy on me.” (breath out). As they were always breathing, the monks were always praying. As they were praying, they were acknowledging the essence of their relationship with God.

    I don’t remember the details of where the story originated, but the theme of acknowledging my need for God’s grace has always stayed with me. In spite of various efforts at various times, my “praying without ceasing” has never been very successful. However, in times of solace and meditation, I will often begin by repeating the monks prayer as I breath in & out.

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