A few years ago, I was drowning in unhappiness. At some points, I thought I’d die from it. During that time, I cried out to God for help. But through prayer after prayer for mercy, He seemed silent.
Thankfully, He eventually rescued me. And since then, as I’ve grown in my Christian walk, I’ve learned more about God’s mercy and how to pray for it.
Why Is Mercy Important To Pray For Or Give To Someone?
What’s mercy anyway?
God’s mercy—not to be confused with His grace—is His compassion towards you, even though you deserve to be punished.
“But—When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.” Titus 3:4-5 (NLT)
Why should you pray for God’s mercy? You can find the answer in the verses above: so that you can be saved from your sins into eternal life.
On the other hand, when someone has wronged you, why should you show mercy? Simple: because you’re paying forward the gift of God’s mercy that you’ve received.
“Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.” Luke 6:36 (ESV)
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How To Pray For Mercy
Now, let’s get down to specifics. For that, we’ll turn to David, who’s one of the prayer heroes of the Bible.
And no wonder, when you can find a blueprint for just about every type of prayer you could ever need. Whether he was feeling vengeful, desperate, or joyful, David prayed about it.
So let’s look at Psalm 86, one of his prayers. We’ll see what we can learn from it about how to pray for mercy.
1. Ask for what you want
David was never shy about asking God for what he wanted. And his prayer for mercy and protection was no different.
“Bend down, O Lord, and hear my prayer; answer me, for I need your help. Protect me, for I am devoted to you. Save me, for I serve you and trust you. You are my God. Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I am calling on you constantly. Give me happiness, O Lord, for I give myself to you.” Psalm 86:1-4 (NLT)
David told God what he wanted—answers, help, protection, rescue, mercy, and happiness. But he also told God why he wanted those things.
As you pray for God’s mercy, ask for what you want but also remind Him of why you want it. Not because God is forgetful, but because you are.
2. Praise God for who He is
David rarely prayed without acknowledging God’s greatness and incomparability.
“O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help. Listen closely to my prayer, O Lord; hear my urgent cry. I will call to you whenever I’m in trouble, and you will answer me.
No pagan god is like you, O Lord. None can do what you do! All the nations you made will come and bow before you, Lord; they will praise your holy name. For you are great and perform wonderful deeds. You alone are God.” Psalm 86:5-10 (NLT)
As David prayed, he reiterated some of what he wanted. But he also exalted God in detail.
When you’re praying for mercy, tell God who He is. Not because He doesn’t know, but because you need to remember.
3. Humble yourself before Him
David had his moments of pride, just as you and I do. But when he went to his knees in prayer, he humbled himself before God.
“Teach me your ways, O Lord, that I may live according to your truth! Grant me purity of heart, so that I may honor you. With all my heart I will praise you, O Lord my God.
I will give glory to your name forever, for your love for me is very great. You have rescued me from the depths of death.” Psalm 86:11-13 (NLT)
Even in the middle of praying for mercy, David asked God to make him a better man, one who was worthy to honor God. That’s never someone who’s stiff-necked with pride.
You may be praying for mercy from a position of pride like God owes you something. But you’ll be better off if you approach the God of the universe with humility instead.
4. Be honest about what’s in your heart
David wasn’t one to mince words at any time, even during prayer. He always bared his soul to God.
“O God, insolent people rise up against me; a violent gang is trying to kill me. You mean nothing to them. But you, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.
Look down and have mercy on me. Give your strength to your servant; save me, the son of your servant. Send me a sign of your favor. Then those who hate me will be put to shame, for you, O Lord, help and comfort me.” Psalm 86:14-17 (NLT)
David wanted God to shame his enemies and grant him favor. And he wasn’t shy about saying exactly that.
So in your prayer for mercy, don’t try to hide your feelings from God, no matter how ugly they are. He already knows about it anyway, and it’ll make you feel better.
But don’t forget to end your prayer in submission to God, the way David did.
A Prayer For Mercy and Strength
Now that we have this excellent prayer for mercy blueprint from David, you’re ready to say your own. If you’re still having trouble starting, here’s a prayer to get you going.
Prayer for mercy
Lord, I feel like I’m drowning and I need Your mercy and rescue. The situation I’m in is threatening to take me under; my strength is failing, and so is my faith. It feels like I’m surrounded on every side, struggling to endure the bombardment of the enemy—and of these people who are coming against me. Worse, I feel alone.
But I know I’m not, Lord. I know that You’re carrying me through this ordeal. Because you promised never to leave me nor forsake me. And since You’re unchanging, so are your promises.
Even as I pray for Your mercy through deliverance, I pray also for the strength to endure until Your sure deliverance comes. Because my times are in Your hands, and Your ways are far above my ways or my understanding.
Father God, I pray not only for your help but I look also for ideas and opportunities for what I can do as I wait on You to do what only You can do. Download new ideas into my heart, Lord. Open new windows and doors of help on my behalf, I pray.
Finally, I pray that You’ll be glorified through this trying time in my life. I pray that You’ll use it to refine my character and my faith. And I pray that I come out on the other side of it a stronger warrior for Your army, ready to do battle in prayer.
I pray all this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
What to Expect From Your Prayer For Mercy
By now you’ve probably realized that as you pray for mercy daily, you’re really praying for God’s help. Which, by the way, you can’t earn in any way.
Sorry to say, but God giving you what you want or helping you out of a tight spot isn’t a guarantee.
Even though you’re a Christian, this is still real life and you don’t always get what you want. But you certainly improve your chances by asking God for it.
“So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.” Luke 11:13 (NLT)
As you say your prayer for mercy, humble yourself before God, pour of your heart to Him; praise Him for who He is; and ask Him for what you want.
He may pluck you out of your difficult situation. Or He may give you the strength to endure as you go through it. Either way, God’s mercy will get you to the other side.