photo by Joe Mabel
I'd heard of the Jesus Prayer a bit, but wasn't sure what it was - I knew it was something that comes out of the Orthodox tradition and is seen as a mystical or meditative prayer. So, I did a bit of research and learned a few things about the Jesus Prayer:
- It is a repetitive, meditative prayer taught in the Eastern Orthodox traditions.
- The prayer is (there are variations): "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner."
- The idea behind the Jesus Prayer is to "prayer ceaselessly" by repeating this prayer in two major ways:
- Formal sessions of about 20 minutes long where, like the rosary, a person would sit and prayer.
- Free praying where a person says the prayer throughout the day.
- The Jesus Prayer seems to originate from the Egyptian desert fathers around the 5th century and has been mentioned in various texts on spiritual practice throughout the ages.
- The prayer consists of a statement of faith followed by a statement about one's own sinful nature and the hope of salvation - a nice summary of the Catholic faith.
- The prayer has Biblical roots in the parable of the Publican (Luke 18:10-14).
- Traditionally, the prayer may be aided by a knotted rope of other means to count the prayers said and help the mind stay focused. Some may add gestures like a prostration to each prayer.
- There is a great deal more writing and theology behind this simple sentence.