The Jesus Prayer

I recently read “The Way of The Pilgrim” and I started trying to pray it 3000 times today. I was wondering if anyone here practiced the Jesus Prayer incessantly and how to concentrate on other things while praying it incessantly.

Try posting in the Eastern Catholic forum. The Jesus Prayer is central in Eastern Catholic spirituality.

I hope to get the book soon and read it. Was it really good?

Yes at such a “rate” it may be good to have someone who can “guide you” …a spiritual director…etc

also read this important document

I pray usually during Eucharistic adoration, but I wouldn’t say incessantly.

The Way of a Pilgrim!!! I read this book in one of my theology classes in college. This book is great! :thumbsup:

I learned The Jesus Prayer from that book in that class. A day does not go by that I do not say the prayer.

"Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me."

or the long version:

**“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” **

It is a great book. I just started praying the Jesus Prayer, like I said, and I’ve realized a change in my life even in this half of a day that I’ve been praying it. I would highly recommend it!

I recently read “The Way of The Pilgrim” and I started trying to pray it 3000 times today, like the pilgrim does. I was wondering if anyone here practiced the Jesus Prayer incessantly and how to concentrate on other things while praying it incessantly.

I have a prayer rope and I pray whenever I am commuting, I pray it about 400 times a day.

Out Of curiosity, what is the prayer?

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.

Hmmm, I like it. Thanks!!:smiley:

God bless

In my undersanding theJesus Prayer/ prayer rope is not like the rosary where you say the prayers and meditate on the mysteries at the same time.

You are supposed to concentrate on Lord Jesus Christ…, and just that.

In the book, the pilgrim says that after praying it 12,000 times a day for a while, that it became incessant. I was wondering if anyone was living like this.

3000 times a day? Doesn’t that just turn into repetitive prayer?

There is a good article in the May-June issue of The Orthodox Word.

It is titled A Conversation with Elder Nikodim on the Jesus Prayer.

If one repeats anything, it is repetitive. :wink:

Perhaps you are alluding to Mt 6:7, “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as
the heathen do.” Repeating the Lord’s name isn’t vain, especially when asking for his mercy.

At Mass we ask for the Lord’s mercy three times: Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison, Kyrie eleison. At Divine Liturgy, “Lord, have mercy” makes up for a majority of the responses (someone once told me 83% – whatever the percentage, it’s a lot).

From what I’ve read, the numbers mentioned in The Pilgrim’s Way are for monastic use and then only with the permission of your spiritual father.

Here’s the section on the Jesus Prayer in the Catechism, #2616, reminding us of the Biblical origins of it.

The urgent request of the blind men, “Have mercy on us, Son of David” or “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” has been renewed in the traditional prayer to Jesus known as the Jesus Prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!” Healing infirmities or forgiving sins, Jesus always responds to a prayer offered in faith: “Your faith has made you well; go in peace.”

You’ll also find it in the Luke 18: 9-14, in the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector where Jesus Christ speaks about it.

9He then addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else. 10“Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. 11The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity—greedy, dishonest, adulterous—or even like this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.’ 13But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’ 14I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

I’m sure there are people here who pray the Jesus Prayer at least that much. However, there are a number of things that should be pointed out. First, if memory serves me correctly the Pilgrim worked up to praying the Jesus Prayer that much. I believe his spiritual father had him start out at 300 times a day. Secondly, the Pilgrim is relating his own personal experience. It has been pointed out by certain saints (St. Theophan the Recluse I believe) that for some people incessant prayer comes quickly, perhaps after only a couple of days/weeks; and the repetition of the prayer never reached as high as 12,000 before it became incessant. For other people, including some saints, the prayer never becomes incessant. Incessant prayer is a gift from God that He bestows on some, but not necessarily on all. That doesn’t mean that we ought not to strive for such a gift, however. :stuck_out_tongue:

I guess my point is that we ought not to think of 12,000 repetitions as being either some sort of magic number for reaching incessant prayer, nor should we even think of it as the goal of praying the Jesus Prayer. The main goal, as St. Theophan says, is to stand before God with the mind/attention in the heart. Eventually, if we are truly praying, words become unnecessary and even potentially distracting. The Jesus Prayer is not an end in itself. It is a tool to reach the end of union with God, constant awareness of His presence. :thumbsup:

Just as a sort of addendum to Constantine’s comment; many modern scholars and spiritual fathers have pointed out that one of the great things about the Jesus Prayer is its versatility. It can be prayed in the quiet of one’s home before one’s icon corner or home altar. It can be prayed while waiting for the bus, or on a long commute (as Constantine does). It can be prayed while grocery shopping, driving the kids to school or soccer, on a work break, etc. Basically any time your mind has a free moment to focus on the Lord and offer Him this sacrifice of praise, you can say the Jesus Prayer. And remember, you don’t have to pray the entire “formula.” One could just say “Jesus,” “Lord Jesus,” “Lord Jesus Christ,” “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me,” etc. As the great mystics and spiritual fathers of the Eastern/Byzantine Church have pointed out, the power of the Jesus Prayer is not in the formula, but in the repetition of the Holy Name.

Constantine, how’s the prayer rope holding up for you?

As a former Buddhist, I can tell you that the Jesus Prayer as done by Orthodox monks is almost exactly like Buddhist monks pray. They say the prayer so fast it becomes like a humming noise.
Should Christians pray as pagans do? Its just a question. What about repetitious prayers? This question is just food for thought. Be careful lest you too become an incoherent babbler.

This is just my opinion. But its also one of the reasons I didn’t go to the Orthodox church. As a former Buddhist I did find it disturbing.:frowning:
If I had a nickel for every person who thought something wonderful would happen if they repeated something ad nauseum.:o

Do you really think that God is impressed with your ability to say something fast 1,000 times!:smiley:

Is that how we get into Heaven? Is that what Jesus said?

Please, use your head and your intellect because God gave it to you, in order to know him and follow him. Where do we see Jesus doing repetitious prayers fast?

Buddhism predates Christianity, and I am sure that when he said don’t pray as the heathens do he was referring to those pagans who thought that by their numerous repeated prayers they would get into Heaven.

But is that THE WAY Jesus preached?

Please, think before you copy others behaviors. Repeating things over and over again is really easy. But the way that Jesus led us to is not easy. Be careful with how much time you waste. Read the bible instead and get to know Jesus.

If you feel that you must repeat a sentence over and over again then just make sure you read the gospels for 10 or 15 minutes first.:wink: Try and understand what Jesus wants you to do.

The objective of the repetitions of the Jesus Prayer is not to SAY the prayer more, but that you want to transform yourself into the prayer. There are 3 levels, so to speak, of the Jesus Prayer. The first level is the prayer of the lips, this is when we memorize and speak the prayer. The second is the prayer of the mind, where we become more aware of what the prayer says and live accordingly. And the highest level is the prayer of the heart, when we ourselves become the prayer, living out our lives epitomizing the prayer in our lives.

Lisa44, I suggest reading more about Eastern Christian spirituality and learning more about the Jesus Prayer before criticizing it and comparing it with Buddhism.

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