The Jesus Prayer

[Note:  This is one of several articles that I am archiving here as I phase out an old website, The Four Precepts Web Portal & Spiritual Search Page.  While these articles reflect a formative period in my life and thought, they do not necessarily reflect my current opinions. This particular article was slightly revised in May of 2020.]

The Jesus Prayer
by Wayne Ferguson 29.07.2007, changed 01.08.2007

When I was approaching the midpoint of a long period of desert wandering, I was introduced to the Jesus Prayer and found it very helpful.

the way of a pilgrim2According to The Way of a Pilgrim, which I was reading at the time, the mere repetition of this prayer will have a profound spiritual effect on anyone who is willing to repeat it until it becomes an internalized, almost unconscious process. Indeed, as I understood it, one need not necessarily believe in God or even be praying with a sincere heart—not in the beginning… Just start praying:

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

christogramI really can’t imagine any other approach that could have persuaded me to pray during that time, but that understanding of the Jesus Prayer really hit the spot. It allowed me to pray with a clear conscience for the first time in years. And while a superstitious mentality might be tempted to attribute a kind of magic to the words themselves, I suspect that the mere willingness to repeat the prayer reflects the first stages of a more profound repentance which is then reinforced by the words of the prayer, together with the grace of God. In any case, the importance of that prayer in my own life can hardly be overestimated. A few years later, I compiled this paraphrased scriptural montage, to which I later added a quasi-liturgical ending:

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

I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me.

(Be Silent and Listen)

For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall separate me from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

And we know that all things work together for Good to them that love the Lord, to them that are the called, according to his purpose.

According to that purpose which he purposed in himself that in the dispensation of the fullness of time, he might gather together in one, all things in Christ; whether they be things in heaven or things in earth, even in Him.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
both now, and ever, and unto the ages of ages…


[Editor’s Note: The scripture verses in this article are basically from The King James version of the Bible, but may reflect some paraphrasing on my part (cf. Romans 8:38-39; Romans 8:28; and Ephesians 1:10 & 3:11).  The image is that of a Christogram with the Jesus prayer appearing in Romainian.  It was borrowed from the Wikipedia article entitled The Jesus Prayer.]



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