My goal this week was to write a hymn in which the chorus could be used in the old tradition of an "arrow prayer." Among the early Desert Fathers, one of their common practices when beset by tempting thoughts was to pray simple, rapid-fire prayers for deliverance. The most popular one was from the first line of Psalm 70: "Make haste, O God, to save me; be swift, O Lord, to help me." I've incorporated that verse, along with the broader tradition of Kyrie Eleison prayers ("Lord, have mercy") into this hymn's chorus. The tune I use here is a modification of the music for Elwood Stokes' old hymn "Fill Me Now" (the timing is altered in the verses and final chorus line, while the initial chorus line has been rewritten altogether).
When in All of My Temptations (Lord, Have Mercy)
When in all of my temptations,
I don't know where I should go;
When I cannot stand in my strength,
I turn unto you, O Lord.
Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy!
Lord have mercy on me!
Lord, make haste to help and save me;
Lord, pour mercy out on me!
When my heart is weighed with sorrow;
When my eyes are dim with grief--
I look to my Rock, my Refuge;
In my Savior there is peace.
When the darts of Satan strike me,
Sin surrounds me like a sea,
Then I run for my salvation
To the Lamb of Calvary.