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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

When a Prayer Ruled the Pop Charts

For the past few years, I have blessed by repeating what is known as “The Jesus Prayer”:

Jesus Christ Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.

I have found this old prayer to focus my mind and spirit as well as alleviate tension, anxiety and worry in my life. As you might expect, I was surprised this week to learn of a rock group, who sung a very similar and ancient prayer in its original Greek form. Moreover, while doing so 24 years ago this week, the song shot to number one on the Billboard charts. Here’s the story.

Richard Page grew up in a religious family. His dad was the leader of the choir at their Presbyterian church, where the entire family faithfully attended. Through his dad’s influence, and his mother, who was the director of the Phoenix Boys Choir, Richard developed a love for music.

In time, Richard formed a rock band with some friends. The group ultimately became known as MR. MISTER. In 1985, they scored a number one hit on the pop charts—“Broken Wings.”

While on tour, the idea for a song came to Richard. The words “Kyrie eleison” kept coming into his mind—Greek words that formed the prayer, “Lord have mercy.” So Richard began writing down additional prayer requests in lyrics such as:

Kyrie Eleison
Down the road that I must travel
Kyrie Eleison
Through the darkness of the night
Kyrie Eleison
Where I'm going will you follow
Kyrie Eleison
On a highway in the light

With lyrics such as these, the song “Kyrie Eleison” hit number one the week of March 1, 1986.

In a winsome way, Richard Page and his band, contributed a song that called attention to the need to submit all aspects of our lives to the Lord of the Universe. Check out the video on Youtube. You can find it by typing the words “mister mister kyrie eleison” in the search box.

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