Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Every day with Jesus - saying the Jesus prayer daily 2

Woke up at 6.00 am today and couldn't sleep so reached for my chotki and said the Jesus Prayer. After reaching the end of the prayer rope - 100 knots - I felt the urge to carry on especially as I was only just getting going, so to speak. So I said another 100. This time I sensed a 'connection' again, as yesterday, and that I was beginning to engage with The Lord. I can't explain it except to say that I felt as if I was going deeper somehow. So when I continued and said another 100 prayers. Here are a few reflections on what I experienced.

First, when I first started there were the usual distractions, mainly in terms of a list of things I needed to do in the day ahead. Then at about 50 prayers I started to feel a little emotional. As usual, it was in a kind of low level sort of way with the moistening of the eyes.  However alongside this came some scriptural texts. First Jesus' words in Matthew 6 where he says “Do not worry”. And then Jesus' words to Martha where (Luke 10?) he says “You are distracted my many things only one thing is needful.” That helped me focus down on the words of the prayer especially the name of Jesus. That seemed to launch me a little deeper into the prayer.

Second, in the middle 100 I felt I had somehow started to get more 'inside' the prayer. It's as if until then I have been a spectator watching someone else pray. This time however I was somehow more involved. There was more of me praying. I can't explain it any other way.

Third, the focus of my eyes - which were closed - seemed to change. Until now they were 'looking up' even though this was behind closed eyelids. Now however they shifted and started to focus in and down. Things became a little darker, but not in a bad way!

Fourth, on the third part I seemed to lose my rhythm and started thinking about how I was saying the prayer. This had the effect of shifting my concentration off Jesus and onto the pattern of the prayer itself and how I was saying it and where I was breathing. So the last part was like emerging from a tunnel into the light. I became more distracted as a result.

However when I finished saying the prayer I felt much more focused on God, more at peace, less worried and more centred. The words “one thing is needful” came back to me and started me thinking more about personal priorities, especially in a busy life in ministry. I resolved to learnt the lesson that everything must start at the centre not the circumference. Once the centre is established - which is Jesus - everything else will fall into their allotted place. “Seek first the kingdom (which Jesus said is within you”) and his righteousness (that is giving Jesus his rightful place) and all these things will be added unto you.“ Matthew 6:33.

Everything I do, plan, think about etc must be brought to the centre, to Jesus. If not I will worry and miss God's will for me/the parish etc..

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