The Jesus Prayer

The Jesus Prayer

In the middle of the 19nth century the story is told of a young man in his 20’s, who after his wife had suddenly died—left his little village and began traveling around his native country Russia.  He was unable to find work primarily because his right hand was withered from a childhood accident.  He wandered around seeking spiritual guidance.  He happened upon a monk one day and approached him with a question: “Is it possible to pray without ceasing?”  The monk replied: “Yes!  Follow me.”
The monk led the way up to a monastery where the old monk taught the young man the power of ‘The Jesus Prayer.’
The words of  The Jesus Prayer are: “Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me.”  There are some variations—all based on a variety of scriptures.


Psalms 6:2 (NKJV)  Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am weak;
O Lord, heal me, for my bones are troubled.

Luke 18:38 (NKJV)   And he cried out, saying, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Matthew 15:22 (NKJV)  And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.”

Luke 18:13 (NKJV)  And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!

The monk instructed the young man to use The Jesus Prayer as a means of learning to pray without ceasing.  He was to begin by praying the prayer 3,000 times per day.  The monk also gave the young man a rope with 100 knots to help keep track of the number of recitations.  
In the book The Way of the Pilgrim the story is told how the recitation of The Jesus Prayer infused this young man and changed his life forever. 

The Jesus prayer works—why?  There are a number of reasons:

Reason # 1:  You don’t have to work hard at praying.  You don’t have to be creative.  You don’t have to think of the next thing to pray.  You don’t run out of things to pray about!

Reason # 2:  You are saying a simple prayer using your mind that will ultimately activate your spirit.  The words are powerful but pretty easy to memorize.  As you use your mind to repeat the prayer over and over, your spirit then becomes energized. 

Reason # 3:  It becomes a tool to use in meditating, relaxating, and spending time in the presence of God.  

I personally use The Jesus Prayer every morning when I awake.  I recite The Gloria first:  Glory to the Father, Glory to the Son, Glory to the Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever.
Then I recite The Jesus Prayer, over myself, my wife, and each member of my family (all by name).
Sample:  Lord Jesus Christ Thou Son of God have mercy on Ruth today—in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Then I pray the same for each person in my family, my brother in laws, their wives, and families and all my staff.

I want to pray for these important people in my life.  I can use The Jesus Prayer and pray effectively, warm, and passionately for them, and not have to come up with anything original.

I have further developed a list of what I call breath prayers.  This list does the same thing as The Jesus Prayer—they just create more variety. 


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