Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.
Praying is defined as "communicating with God." Most people, especially Christians, know the power of prayer, and they pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). No matter how often some people pray, there is a prayer they neglect to pray.
Yes, people pray for God's blessings for almost every area of their lives. They pray grace over their food before they eat. They pray before going to bed at night and upon waking up in the morning. They pray for traveling mercies. They pray for better financials, more job opportunities, and loving relationships. They pray for people in their family, people on their job, people in their church, and people in their community.
While people are diligent to pray for all those things and people, there is something particular they do not pray. It is not that people deliberately intend not to pray this prayer, but they just forget to do so after their requests have been granted. So, what is the prayer that people don't pray?
Most Christians have no problem thanking God for the good things He has allowed to happen. However, they fail to pray a prayer of thanksgiving for the bad things God kept from happening.
People thank God for their new job, new house, and the new car they just received. They pray the prayer of thanksgiving when things have gone right. They neglect to thank God when things didn't go wrong.
In other words, people thank God for His grace, but they neglect to thank God for His mercy.
Thank God for Grace
Grace is mentioned about 170 times in the Bible. About 127 of those times are in the New Testament and the rest are in the Old Testament.
Most people know the definition of grace. It is God's unmerited favor that He gives when people don't deserve it. Most people remember to thank God for His amazing grace. In fact, there is an entire song called Amazing Grace.
It is appropriate to thank God for grace. However, that is something else God should be thanked for.
Thank God for Mercy
The word "mercy" appears 454 times in 44 of the 66 books of the Bible, and 261 of those times are in the Old Testament. That's more than three times "grace" is mentioned. That means mercy is important to God because He loves us so much that He is willing to refrain from giving us the punishment we deserve.
Mercy is observed when God withholds a punishment from us when we do deserve it. We usually thank God for the good that happens, but we neglect to thank Him for the bad that doesn't happen. For instance, we thank God for the new job when we first get it. As time goes on, we neglect to thank God for not allowing us to get fired or laid off from that job even though we have been late on numerous occasions. God withheld the punishment when we were tardy, and He showed us mercy when we didn't finish an important project on time.
Mercy is mentioned throughout the Psalms in the Old Testament.
"I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy" (Psalm 31:7).
"Let thy mercy, O LORD, be upon us, according as we hope in thee" (Psalm 33:22).
"For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee" (Psalm 86:5).
"O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth forever" (Psalm 136:1).
The psalmist didn't take God's mercy for granted. He didn't forget to thank God for mercy because of all the bad He kept away from him. All 26 verses of Psalm 136 end the same way with "for his mercy endureth forever."
It is easy for God to show mercy because mercy comes from a merciful God. However, the word "mercy" is not mentioned as often in the New Testament.
"Mercy rejoiceth against judgment" (James 2:13).
“I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” (Romans 9:15).
There are many verses in the Bible that mention grace. There are many verses that mention mercy. There are also verses that contain grace and mercy alongside each other.
Always keep the following two things in mind.
- Grace is a gift from God when we have done nothing to deserve it.
- Mercy is a gift from God when He withholds a punishment we do deserve for something we have done or failed to do.
Notice that grace and mercy are both gifts from God dispensed upon us because God loves us. Remember to thank God for both.
- Grace and Mercy: What's the Difference?
There is a very big difference between grace and mercy. The words should not be used interchangeably.