The Jesus Prayer is a staple of Eastern (primarily Greek Orthodox) Christianity.
Seeing it pop up on social media tonight gave me pause, as the prayer is a surprise guest in my life of late. I’ve been in a challenging season of changes, and there’s been considerable spiritual struggling. In the midst of late night assaults of anxiety, doubt, shame and fear, this prayer (of which I’ve been aware but not a practitioner) asserted itself and gave me respite in God’s presence.
I’ve been seeking some guidance on the prayer, and found the website Chotki, which includes The Jesus Prayer Resource Library. There are links to articles and books by recognized Orthodox authorities, such as the late Metropolitan Anthony Bloom, who oversaw Russian Orthodoxy in Great Britain. He wrote,
…the Jesus Prayer aims at bringing us to stand in God’s presence with no other thought but the miracle of our standing there and God with us, because in the use of the Jesus Prayer there is nothing and no one except God and us.
That evokes what the prayer brought me on anxious nights. It stopped my fixation on passing circumstances, silenced accusing and fretting thoughts, and gave me rest in the eternal and merciful God.
I’m not out to make it a fetish – The Lord’s Prayer is what Jesus gave us and is sufficient. But The Jesus Prayer has been a precious gift in a time of need, so I share it not as an exhortation to do anything but to praise God for such kindness to me, a sinner.