Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Jesus Prayer

I know I'm posting in spurts, but you take what you can get...

I have been working at practicing the Jesus Prayer in the past couple of weeks. It's been done in the Eastern church for centuries, beginning with the early desert fathers--a bunch of guys who were the predecessors to monks. It's simple to practice, but profound in impact. This is the prayer:

Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me.

Some add "a sinner" after the publican dude's humble prayer in Jesus' parable. But I like this prayer as a way to train yourself prayer without ceasing. Try it like this:

Breathe in and say "Lord Jesus Christ..."

Breathe out and say "have mercy on me."


The desert fathers would begin by trying to say it 300 times in a day, and work their way up from there. I haven't gone that far, but I've had periods of 5, 10, maybe even 20 minutes where I'm praying this prayer. It calms me, helps me focus on God, and has really helped my prayer life in this uncertain transitional times. I hope you'll try it.

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