Are things a little chaotic in your world? Is it hard to stay focused at work, in your family, in your mind because of all the clutter and clatter around and within you? How can one pray when there is no silence? The Eastern Church practices “The Jesus Prayer”, based off of Bartimaeus’ words in Mark 10. “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.” This is repeated again and again as form of meditation. The Jesus Prayer, says Metropolitan Anthony Bloom, “more than any other,” helps us to be able to “stand in God’s presence.” I encourage you to use this as part of your spiritual growth. Sit before a crucifix, an icon, or other religious art for a visual focus. Use The Jesus Prayer for a mental focus. Standing in the presence of God, offer your prayer, praise, and thanksgiving.
Jesus Prayer - Prayer of the Heart
The Jesus Prayer is very simple:
"Lord Jesus Christ Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner,"
The Jesus Prayer according to numerous Church Fathers is "essential" to our spiritual growth. The Jesus Prayer proclaims our faith and humbles us by asking mercy for our sinfulness. The Jesus Prayer is thought to be as old as the Church itself.
The Jesus Prayer, says Metropolitan Anthony Bloom, “more than any other,” helps us to be able to “stand in God’s presence.” This means that the Jesus Prayer helps us to focus our mind exclusively on God with “no other thought” occupying our mind but the thought of God. At this moment when our mind is totally concentrated on God, we discover a very personal and direct relationship with Him.
Jesus Christ - the Power In the Name
The Jesus Prayer's power comes from the use of our Lord's Name, Jesus Christ, Son of God. It is a confession of our faith.
Jesus Prayer requires Humility
The Jesus Prayer in its practice assumes you are a regular participant in the worship services of the Church, in her Sacraments and aware of your sinfulness. Be sure to consult with and follow the advice of your spiritual Father. Humility is a prerequisite for all prayer, especially the Jesus Prayer.
Jesus Prayer Has Two Functions
The Jesus Prayer has two important purposes. The first is worship as with all prayer. The second is a discipline to help our soul gain control our overactive brains and create stillness so the Holy Spirit can work through us and help us live the virtues in union with God.
Jesus Prayer Has Three Stages in Practice
The Jesus Prayer involves three stages of progress in its practice. You begin praying the Jesus Prayer by repeating the words of the prayer out loud or at least moving the lips. This is called verbal prayer. After some time saying of the Jesus Prayer becomes silent or mental and is repeated only in the mind. This is mental prayer. Finally, the Jesus Prayer becomes a continuous prayer in the heart, the inner core of our being. We begin with vocal prayer and do not force the move to mental prayer. This will happen naturally when you are ready.
Jesus Prayer is A Long and Difficult Path
Do not be fooled by its simplicity. The Jesus Prayer practice is a difficult task and like all ascetic practices it requires commitment of time, patience and perseverance. Remember the Jesus Prayer's aim is not to obtain a calmness or any kind of spiritual experience, but to become in communion with God and participate in His grace.
Jesus Prayer - When To Pray
The Jesus Prayer will eventually be prayed throughout the day and when this happens, you will find that your life changes.
Jesus Prayer is Not a Form of Eastern Meditation
The praying of the Jesus Prayer should not be confused with methods used in Eastern Yoga or meditation. In praying the Jesus Prayer as in all Orthodox Prayer we are seeking a relationship with a personal God based on faith and love.