Nobody has truly understood the traditional Jesus Prayer: "Jesus, Savior, have mercy on me!" better than a man a thousand years before Jesus walked this earth. David, who was called a man after God's own heart, shows that heart as he prays: Have mercy on me; wash me clean of my guilt. I am aware of my sin, which you have the right to judge. Teach me wisdom, wash me whiter than snow. Only you can create a clean heart in me! Give me a new spirit, that keeps me in Your presence. I bring you the sacrifice of a broken spirit. Renew my joy, be my savior. I will teach others the Way, and speak your praise to all the earth. *
This was a man who knew that prayer is less about asking and more about listening to God and His prophets. He, like Patrick 1400 years later, spent years as a very young man alone with sheep out on the hills, listening and being molded by God, and as an older man, shaping the destiny of a nation under God. David understood that God has told us how to live the life He intended for us, but also that God as given us freedom, knowing that we will fall short on our own, but He will--if we ask with humility of spirit--give us a clean heart and a fresh start.
As I was writing this, I got a phone call from my son David that his firstborn son arrived this evening, several weeks earlier than expected. I've watched Dave, over the past few months, beginning to look at life from a different perspective; over the years it's been interesting watching my kids turn into parents. By making us partners in the project of raising His children, God transforms us, and gives us a glimpse of how much He loves us and what He wants His family to be. As a church family, we are being blessed by new babies and grandbabies; and as we love them and watch over them 24/7. we need to keep the line open to our Heavenly father, and not just pray occasionally, but learn, in the words of St Paul, to "pray without ceasing."