Lord, I call to thee from the depths of my iniquity. I have not delivered myself sufficiently unto thee; I know not how.
The prayer returns us to an awareness of our essential condition of unknowing. Even manifest as vessels for receiving the names of God, and manifest as a unique and particular name of God in ourselves, we do not know the way home. The completion of the cycle of our lives, the Path of the Yogi, and the octave of human development, can only be accomplished through a complete surrender. At the end of life itself, this process is called death. This is the moment in which all of creation must return to its origin, willingly or unwillingly.
Yet a willing return is what is needed; and although death does the job for everyone, death is not enough. One might even call it the lazy man's way out. We should not let death do our work for us.
The process of inner development is aimed at creating a state that will provide a willing return. We need to come to the door and knock on it so that it will be opened; but we don't know how to get to the door. The essential condition of separation is a condition of unknowing, and only a call for help issued to a higher force can help us to find our way back.
Under ordinary circumstances in a man or woman, the ego won't bother making such calls, because it firmly and only believes in itself. Yet even if the ego were extinguished, we would still be lost. Something more than an ego is required; there has to be an essential motive force that issues the call to prayer, and yet we don't know what that is. Even the most powerful man is not yet God, or anything close to God; only the higher influence of the Father, the influence of a divine or higher energy, can help bring us back to the source of our arising. And only understanding—knowing, not believing in—this influence can bring us what is needed.
To discover this, and admit our absolute helplessness, is an entry into the highest of mysteries. As ourselves, we are not servants; because everything that we are doing clings, in the end, to something that refuses to serve. If we extinguish 99.99% of what believes it can do in us, the other .01% still believes it can do, and as long as there is even that much there, all of us still believes it can do, because the condition of understanding one cannot do must be absolute, not relative.
If we see ourselves fully, ultimately, we see this; and we see that as we are, no matter how high we reach, we cannot reach high enough.
Help is necessary.
Hence the Hesychast's prayer, Lord have Mercy. This particular prayer encapsulates all of the action that is necessary, very little of which comes from us. The only action we engage in is supplication; and only to the extent that we lose ourselves completely in supplication do we stand the chance of gaining anything, because as we are, in ourselves, every scrap we cling to is a complete refusal, because we are still conditional.
This has to be seen over and over again, and in every instance where a higher energy helps us to see what we are, the anguish increases. For the path to the Lord, though the Mercy of the Lord fills us with joy at all times on it, is a path of anguish. Only by seeing exactly what we are, wholly seeing what we are, organically seeing what we are—before the intellect knows what we are, seeing what we are—can we make ourselves available to what is necessary.
This is not the seeing of the mind. It is a seeing of the soul, the soul looking into the soul, the soul knowing the soul.
And there is one thing that is certain. We don't want to see what we are.
The Lord does have Mercy, because the Lord has seen to it that this unutterable anguish has a sweetness beyond compare. So the path has been laid out in front of us not as a trial, but as a gift. This can't be known by studying theories; it can only be known by entering the mysteries. It can only be known through experience, and never through intellect alone. This doesn't mean that we discard our intelligence; but it becomes a servant, rather than the Lord that it thinks it is.
In the end, all the points of work lead towards this prayer. No matter what direction one takes, the action of intentional suffering must become real, and it is embodied in the words Lord have Mercy.
There are works that make other presumptions, and paths that believe there are other directions; but those are not this path.
I respectfully hope you will take good care.