Friday, May 24, 2019

Hymn of the Week: Have Mercy on Us

Among the many kinds of hymns and songs, there's one kind that I use in my daily life more than any other: a small set of songs that I call "prayer anthems." They're usually very short, fairly simple, and meant to be repeated over and over again. It's a long tradition that goes all the way back to the earliest chanted liturgies of the Christian faith. I find that when I'm in prayer--particularly if I'm prayerwalking, doing a longer session, or simply wanting to keep a prayerful attitude in the midst of a busy place--I can use these songs to keep my mind fixed on God and to allow the Spirit to pray through me "with groans that words cannot express" (Rom. 8:26). This week I've written a new prayer anthem and composed my own tune for it. The text is a combination of the classic "Jesus Prayer" of the Eastern Orthodox tradition (based on Matt. 20:30 and Luke 18:13), the Kyrie prayers of the medieval church, and a line from Psalm 100:3. The tune is fairly simple; I haven't even bothered to plot it out in musical notation--but if you'd like to use it yourself, here's the note sequence: CGGAGFG / EDCDE / CGGAGFG / EDCDC / CGAGFGC / CGAGFGC / EDCDE / EDCBC. (And if you're interested in hearing some of the other prayer anthems I regularly use, see the links below my song.)

Have Mercy on Us

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God,
Have mercy on us.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God,
Have mercy on us.              (Repeat stanza if desired)

For we are your people,
The sheep of your pasture,
Have mercy on us,
Have mercy on us.

Prayer Anthems I commonly use:
The Jesus Prayer, Angola Prayer, I'm Putting On the Love of the Lord, Prayers of the Saints, and the chorus sections of the following songs: Lord Have MercyVeni Sancte Spiritus, Christ Be All Around Me, Shema, Chaplet of Divine Mercy.