Contemplative Prayer: The Jesus Prayer

Mar 5, 2017 ~ Prev | Intro | Next

Lent is a time when we seek to purify our souls, thinking about how we can become imitators of Christ, picking up our crosses and following him. It is a season tailor made for contemplative prayer, for seeking stillness within and making time for God.

The Jesus Prayer stems from Eastern Orthodox practice, which seeks inner stillness through repetition in prayer. The words of the Jesus Prayer come from Luke 18 and Mark 10. They are the cry of the heart of person encountering Jesus.

Through the ages, people have found power in the name of Jesus itself. Calling on the name brings that power to bear in your life. Praying the prayer calls Jesus into your heart.

The Jesus Prayer can be said both in formal prayer times and throughout the day. As you are driving, washing dishes, standing in line, or brushing your teeth, repeat the Jesus Prayer and open your heart to God. If you are angry or upset, recite the Jesus Prayer and let it heal you. Recite it silently. Recite it aloud.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:17, Paul urges us to pray ceaselessly. Repetition of the short Jesus prayer allows us to always have Jesus on our breath. To engage the body, the prayer can be prayed through the breath, half on inhalation and half on exhalation.

The Jesus Prayer:
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God,
Have mercy on me, a sinner.
Or simply
Jesus Christ, have mercy.