Thursday, 15 September 2011
The Jesus Prayer
The practice may involve specific body postures, and be accompanied by very deliberate breathing patterns. The practitioner is instructed not to treat it as a string of syllables for which the "surface" meaning is secondary. Rather the one who prays it must connect with the words and so avoid the hollow repetition which is such a regular feature of the mantra. .
In the Eastern tradition the prayer is said or prayed repeatedly, often with the aid of a chotki (or prayer rope), somewhat resembling a rosary. It may be accompanied by prostrations and the sign of the cross. As such, it is used - among other things - as a means of finding contrition and as a means of bringing about humility in the individual. Monastics often have long sessions praying this prayer many hundreds of times each night as part of their discipline. Through the guidance of an elder, the practitioner’s ultimate goal is to "internalize" the prayer, thereby accomplishing Saint Paul's exhortation to the Thessalonians to "pray without ceasing."
I hope this blog will help promote the use of this wonderful prayer and encourage those who read it to begin to plumb its considerable depths