This past Sunday I stumbled across a book on a prayer that’s been prayed by the Easternn Orthodox church for centuries. They call it the “Jesus prayer”. The book was very much written in the context of the Eastern Orthodox faith & almost led one to believe that this prayer should not in fact be attempted outside that context. Being the rebel I am, however, I decided to politely put that suggestion aside and attempt it anyway
So What Is This “Jesus Prayer?”
As with so many things of great antiquity, the Jesus Prayer actually has several versions. The short one is: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me.” It’s the one I’ll be teaching my grandson Jaden.
Another is “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
A 3rd version is: “Lord Jesus Christ, son of the living God, have mercy on me.” My version is: “Lord Jesus Christ, son of the living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
I like to say it in conjunction with my breathing. I start by inhaling “Lord Jesus Christ,” and exhale on “son of the living God,”. I again inhale on “Have mercy on me”, & exhale on the words “a sinner.”
That’s just me, and others will want to use a different version or vary the breathing pattern, if they use it at all. I rather think it’s kind of like a Reese’ss–there’s no right way to eat one, & there’s no right way to do the “Jesus Prayer”, either, except the one that works for yu.
It goes without saying that sincerity is a requirement, and if this isn’t something you really believe, i.e., you don’t believe that Jesus is the son of God, etc., then don’t do this. This is so much more than just some sort of mantra.
So Why Do I like It?
I like saying the Jesus prayer for a number of reasons. Here are just a few:
- It gives me something good to think about when I’m doing mindless things.
- It’s a great cure for feelings of entitlement.
- It’s also a wonderful cure for self-righteousness.
- It’s great for minimizing anger–I mean, it’s pretty tough to get angry at another’s imperfections when you’re begging for mercy because you’re a sinner yourself.
- It helps me relax throughout the day.
- It helps keep God uppermost in my consciousness.
- I’m starting to see Bible stories in an entirely new light.
As this journey continues, I’ll likely come up with even more reasons, and I’ll cover the ones I’ve listed in more detail in separate posts.
Meanwhile, I think this is a prayer from which all Christians can benefit greatly. Perhaps my thoughts on the matter will inspire you to try it as well. I’m looking forward to any comments you might have.