Monday, 21 September 2009

The Jesus Prayer

We ended yesterday's sermon The problem we all have with pride, by reciting The Jesus Prayer. It's the best antidote for the twin pitfalls of self-obsession, which at the opposite extremes, are arrogance and self-hatred.

The prayer has been used for centuries in the Orthodox Church and has only come to prominence in the west in recent decades. It combines two of the most profound prayers of Luke's gospel - the tax-collector's prayer in the parable of Luke 18.13 and the cry of the blind man in Luke 18.35-8.

So here it is, a prayer centred on Jesus. A prayer of penitence and longing which is full of faith and hope.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Pray it repetitively, so that the words shift focus on the elements of praise and penitence and finally, to a quietening prayer of the heart.