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Christian Songwriting: Behind the Lyrics of “Have Mercy”

Written by Chris Skinner on

By many measures, the past year has been really hard for many of us. Loved ones have been lost. Jobs have gone away. People have suffered physically, mentally, financially, and emotionally. Relationships have strained and ended. These are big traumas that need the patient care of Jesus.

However, I think it’s possible for God to work on many planes at once. And, while there is real suffering, I’ve been thinking a lot about a question—what if the obstacles we’ve faced this year were also ways for God to get the Church’s attention? What if our suffering is meant to purify us and lead us to a deeper, more vibrant faith that we live out in this world? What if, essentially, he’s reviving us? Could this be a season where we are actually drawn closer to God, and grow into a new place of holiness and devotion to him?

This song is a prayer that we’d respond to his leading humbly and see his work in us.





When our plans are brought to nothing

Expectations blown away

What will be left in the ashes on that day?



Fire consumes but leaves a blessing

Flame can singe and purify

Gold emerging from the ashes you cannot buy



Revive us, O God

Recapture our hearts

Like sheep, we have wandered astray

Revive us, O Jesus

Forgive us and lead us

Have mercy, revive us, we pray



In our failure and our weakness

In our selfishness and need

Raise a Church up from the ashes alive and free



Lord we lift you higher and higher

Lord we bow down lower and lower

Lord we lit you higher and higher and higher



Behind the Song

As I wrote this song, I was inspired by specific Scriptures. You might pick up on subtle references to them in the lyrics. Below are some of the key Scriptures:


Joel 2:13-15

Rend your heart
    and not your garments.
Return to the Lord your God,
    for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
    and he relents from sending calamity.
Who knows? He may turn and relent
    and leave behind a blessing—

grain offerings and drink offerings
    for the Lord your God.

Blow the trumpet in Zion,
    declare a holy fast,
    call a sacred assembly.


Isaiah 53:6

We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.


Psalm 85
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah.

Lord, you were favorable to your land;
    you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
You forgave the iniquity of your people;
    you covered all their sin. Selah
You withdrew all your wrath;
    you turned from your hot anger.

Restore us again, O God of our salvation,
    and put away your indignation toward us!
Will you be angry with us forever?
    Will you prolong your anger to all generations?
Will you not revive us again,
    that your people may rejoice in you?
Show us your steadfast love, O Lord,
    and grant us your salvation.


John 3:30

He must increase, but I must decrease.


Chris Skinner

Chris serves on the College Park Church Worship Arts Team as the Production Director. He is passionate about encouraging the church to gather and worship Christ. Chris enjoys spending time with his wife, kids, and Small Group.

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