Wednesday, July 23, 2008

ancient prayer revisited, part 5



this time i want to focus on what may be the oldest form of ancient prayer. it's called the Jesus prayer. this is a simple little prayer that has the capacity to genuinely focus us on God. 

here is the complete prayer:

LORD JESUS CHRIST, SON OF GOD, HAVE MERCY ON ME A SINNER.

this phrase, or a portion of it [e.g. Lord Jesus, have mercy] is repeated over and over again. unless you have prayed this way, you cannot imagine the discipline it takes to say this prayer in a meaningful way each time. 

when i practice this prayer i use what is called a prayer rope. (go here too) my prayer rope has 100 knots in it, allowing me to say the Jesus prayer 100 times.

the key to this type of prayer is to remember that the goal is NOT some experience. experiences can easily fill us with pride and cause us to stumble. no the goal here is simply to sustain our prayer life which is clearing time and space in our lives for the presence of God.

more next time
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