From Scotty Smith, a prayer when a tendency towards not being merciful demonstrates a lack of appreciation for grace:
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Luke 6:36 (NIV)
Speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. James 2:12-13 (ESV)
Dear heavenly Father, we praise you for being the Father of mercies and God of all comfort—the God of limitless patience, inexhaustible forbearance, and incomparable compassion. Instead of giving us what we deserve, you have given us Jesus—who is our perfect righteousness, everlasting peace, and greatest joy.
As you extend mercy to us, so we want to do so to others—even when it’s hard. We want your mercy to trump our judgmental attitude; and we want to live more fully by the law of liberty, instead of by the toxin of criticism. Only the gospel can free us to live and love this way.
Father, we lament and repent for being too easily irritated, offended, and impatient. We confess to you what you already know: We keep records of the ways people hurt, fail, and disappoint us, more readily than we remain committed to overlooking, forbearing, and forgiving. Thank you for the full forgiveness we have in Christ, and for grace to repent and change. Father, too whatever degree it is possible, for redeemed sinners, we want to be merciful with others as you are merciful with us.
And for our more complex relationships, Father, we appeal to you for wisdom and strength. Show us what mercy looks like with we feel like we are being exploited, manipulated, and “played”. We know you’re not calling us to be “doormats”, but you are calling us to wash the feet of repeat offenders, like ourselves. Our cry is, “Help, Abba, help!”
Father, teach us about healthy boundaries, severe mercy, and extraordinary grace. Free us for loving in the broken places, as Jesus loves us. Fill us with your Spirit, empower us by the gospel, and bring the right people into our lives that can help us navigate some of these more soul-depleting relationships. Thank you for your promise and provision of daily mercies. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ kind and powerful name.