[W]hy is it that, whereas the priest asks them to pray for so many different things, the faithful in fact ask for one thing only–mercy? Why is this the sole cry they send forth to God?
In the first place, as we have already said, it is because this prayer implies both gratitude and confession. Secondly, to beg God’s mercy is to ask for his kingdom, that kingdom which Christ promised to give to those who seek it, assuring them that all things else of which they have need will be added unto them [Matt. 6.33]. Because of this, this prayer is sufficient for the faithful, since its application is general.
Nicholas Cabasilas, Commentary on the Divine Liturgy, (SVS Press, 1960/2002), p. 47
Let me recommend to your reading the website: Death to the World – The Last True Rebellion.
Inspired by the life and writings of Blessed Hieromonk Seraphim (Rose) of Platina, it has several good articles.
I highlight the following:
Nihilism 101, an excerpt from the first chapter of Fr Seraphim’s book, Nihilism
The Orthodox Revival in Russia as an Inspiration for American Orthodoxy, a talk given by Fr Seraphim given on September 1, 1980, at the University of California, Santa Cruz, during the West Coast Conference held in preparation for the one-thousandth anniversary of the baptism of Russia
The Last True Rebellion, an article based on Fr Seraphim’s writings on nihilism and atheism
Note: There are also links to the eleven issues of their “Death to the World” zine here, all in pdf files.
As always, these writings are to be submitted to the mind of the Church in the person of one’s priest or spiritual father.