Kyrie Eleison (Lord, Have Mercy)

Full Text


Kyrie eleison.
Kyrie eleison.
Kyrie eleison.


Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

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Scripture References

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

God’s children are not called to come before God’s throne with a list of accomplishments, or merits or goodness; they are called, says Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 26, to come with the humility that “…offers nothing but our need for mercy.” Such a cry for mercy comes from our “dying-away of the old self” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 33, Question and Answer 88) which expresses that we are “genuinely sorry for our sin and more and more…hate and run away from it” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 33, Question and Answer 89).

The gifts of renewal and pardon come only “through true faith” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 7, Question and Answer 20) and are “gifts of sheer grace, granted solely by Christ’s merits” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 7, Question and Answer 21). The very act of faith is to plead for his mercy.


Kyrie Eleison (Lord, Have Mercy)

Additional Prayers

A Prayer for Mercy
Gracious God, it’s always the same sins. We have sinned the same way over and over, losing our temper, forgetting your grace, silencing our conscience. Like every addict, we have a habit. But you, gracious God, are our higher power, and we need your power this very day, this very hour. Lord, have mercy; Christ, have mercy; Lord, have mercy upon us. Amen.
— Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.

Kyrie Eleison (Lord, Have Mercy)

Tune Information

E Major


Musical Suggestion

Use a djembe (an African hand drum) with a strong, deep sound on the first beat (as if beating one’s breast in sorrow), and shuffling quarter or eighth notes on the other beats. Consider singing in unison or with women on the melody and men humming the drone accompaniment. For a blues-like accompaniment for unison singing, see Sing! A New Creation Leader’s Edition #50. 

Kyrie Eleison (Lord, Have Mercy)

Hymn Story/Background

This ancient Greek liturgical text was retained by the Roman Catholic Church for more than a thousand years, even though the rest of their liturgy was in Latin. Singing this text in Greek helps honor the communion of saints—we worship not just here and now, but with the whole church throughout the world and throughout history. 

Orthodox music for worship has traditionally been unaccompanied; this setting is from the Russian Orthodox Church, famed for its low basses which add depth and solemnity to this ancient prayer of confession. 
— Emily Brink
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