Thursday, 10 January 2013
Trial, and error?
Saying the Jesus Prayer I have noticed several things which seem to reoccur in varying degrees each time:
First that it takes about 20 repetitions before my mind really starts to get itself sorted out. Initially I may be able to concentrate on the prayer for one or two repetitions, but then a recent film I have watched or some forthcoming event pops into my mind and then for one or two repetitions I am caught up in saying the prayer but thinking about something else. So like a sailor trying to regain control of a wayward ship, I wrestle the prayer back on course and for one or two repetitions I am moving forward again until the next distraction chases me down.
Second, when I am able to focus on what I am saying two things happen:
One, I 'connect' with the name of Jesus and, fleetingly, seem to 'touch' the person I am addressing. That's the only way I can explain it. When I do there is a slight emotional lift and then it's gone again. This can happen for one or several repetitions and then back to the minding wandering off course again.
Two, sometimes I connect with the 'have mercy on me a sinner' part and this time I experience a different sort or emotional lift where I am yearning for mercy and grace or more of God. It is, I think, and acknowledgement of hunger - of wanting more.
These occasions are rare but they are frequent enough to keep me going with the prayer and give me a sense of getting somewhere even if that somewhere is not really where I am meant to go or the real aim of the prayer. The trouble is I have no way of knowing if this is right or wrong or that I am being led along a wrong path or being deceived or whatever. This surely underlines the need for a spiritual guide rather than books.
But it is better to pray than not too pray and besides, all is grace.