God does not require a mechanism. We must help those around us to come to know Jesus in their own time. We must not force an agenda upon them because 'God has all the time in the world' (David Runcorn). At Easter a friend came to stay with me to whom I listened and I listened long and hard - she pretty much told me her life-story - this was quite a conversation, well, for her, anyway, my job was to listen, but one of the interesting things that she said to me was 'I didn't know I had to say the prayer to become a real Christian', now this I found interesting. What exactly did she mean? So I pushed her on the point a little. She meant the Jesus prayer. The thing is to whom do we think this prayer makes us real? To those in the Church, we might feel that after this is spoken, we are accepted, but what is happening in our heart? Only God knows and he can wait for us. He is so much more patient with us than the Church. It might be a long time between each of the points of the Jesus prayer that anything actually happens.
"Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner".
I think at first there is an acknowledgement that Jesus Christ is Lord and this has huge impacts on your life, it changes your life, it turns everything upside-down, a little bit like the birth of my first child turned everything upside down. You find yourself guided by the will of another (Jesus) - your child. You find that you are no longer the master of your own life, Jesus is and you are now servant, much as you become servant to your child, putting their needs above your own, looking at the world through their eyes, you begin to look at the world through Jesus' eyes and this changes what the world looks like for you and what your place in it will be.
Acknowledging that Jesus is the Son of God is really something else again. There is a glimpse into the relational God, mediated by the power of the Spirit - we are taught about community and about dependence, about synergy and that alone we are not whole, we are whole in community just like the triune God is a whole of three parts - Father, Son and Spirit. So we become more missional. We need to be Jesus and find Jesus and see Jesus in our communities if we are going to truly exhibit the mind of Christ.
Asking Jesus to have mercy upon us is a command, a request, it has the element of expectation about it - Jesus will not fail to be merciful - he is mercy personified and if he is at one with the Father, then we have a God who is all about mercy and so we come to understand that God is love, love more than he is wrath, that there is nothing that we have to do to earn his mercy, it is his gift to us his children because he loves us and it flows from his grace. There is a feeling in us of bliss, of confidence, we feel truly loved, clean and whole, we see ourselves in God's imagination as that redeemed version of ourselves which lives with him and we are desperate to catch up - to be with him and we want to receive more and more of his transforming mercy and so we come into relationship with our benevolent Lord, the one who came to give us life that we should have it in abundance. And we rejoice.
And then last of all, we become conscious of our need and that indeed we are miserable wretches without our Lord who had made us fearfully and wonderfully, who has put his Spirit within us and has redeemed us. We become conscious that there are opportunities to move away from him at every moment, to be in sin, to be in an inadequate relationship with him, not because of any weakness on his part but because there is the potential for such weakness on our part and so we learn to depend upon God, to call on the name of his precious Son daily and to ask to be continually filled with his Spirit, to repent of our sin and eagerly desire the Spiritual gifts so that he might manifestly testify to our spirit by his Spirit that we are indeed his dear adopted sons and daughters.
So, all of these things, this surrender, might take time. It can't all happen all at once, well, maybe it does sometimes, after all, nothing is impossible for God, but I think that we need to remember that it is all in God's time, that God has all the time in the world and we are to be gentle and patient with our brothers and sisters for how can we not be when we are being gently sanctified to have the mind of Christ?
So we need churches that have a heartbeat and not a clock and we need churches where people can sing! We must never treat people as objects or issues, we must listen to their stories without planning an agenda, we must let people 'be' and we must see people 'rest' because the Father's love changes everything. Flesh and blood can only reveal in part what the truth is, our ministers and our friends and our teachers and our guides, our communities can help, we can all advise each other to pray a certain prayer, or practice a certain kind of spirituality but it is with a waiting on the Spirit and an invitation to the Spirit, it is by saying 'Come Holy Spirit and teach me how to pray' that we might really see transformation.