Devotional Thoughts: The Jesus Prayer

In the Eastern Orthodox Christian tradition, there is a practice known as the Jesus Prayer.

I've heard that it can be as short as:

Lord, have mercy.

And as "long" as:

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy upon me, a sinner.

For classical music lovers, we hear the same thought in portions of liturgical music in the Kyrie. Here is an example in Gregorian Chant.

For a discussion of the history and practice of the Jesus Prayer, check out Frederica Mathewes-Green's essay on the topic.

I've taken to using the prayer at various times during a typical day.

Green put its benefit this way: Mostly, it gets rid of the clutter.

I definitely have my share of "squirrel moments" during a typical day!



And so the prayer helps me get settled.

More thoughts from Green ...
I think it is wise that the Prayer asks for mercy, to remind us of the necessity of humility, rather than the narcissism that can accompany the self-designation “spiritual.” So the Jesus Prayer is not an end in itself, but a way of training the mind to remain always in his presence, no matter what else life brings.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy upon me, a sinner.

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