Thursday, 5 September 2013

Every day with Jesus - saying the Jesus Prayer 3

As a new Christian I was helped by daily notes by Selwyn Hughes called "Every Day With Jesus." Saying the Jesus Prayer is doing just that, ensuring that I start every day with Jesus, by focussing down on him in the Jesus Prayer.

Today went the chokti twice taking 25 minutes. I noticed that in was saying the Prayer in two parts. "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God" - short pause - "have mercy on me a sinner." Each time this took about 5 seconds. Previous to a few days ago when I had said the prayer I had another rhythm where I had divided it into four parts: "Lord Jesus Christ" - brief pause - "Son of God" - brief pause - "have mercy on me" - brief pause - "a sinner". Why I have changed I don't know. Maybe subconsciously I find my breathing is better suited to it - although I am not conscious of it finding that if I think too much about breathing in get out of breath! Maybe personally I find that the emphasis on the two phrases, separately, helps me  in saying the prayer by raising Jesus up in the first part and putting me down in the second? Who knows except that its changed.  Maybe it's simply the Holy Spirit praying in and through me?

Although I sat in silence as I said the prayer I still was very aware of noise initially. The cars passing outside. People talking. The creaking of the house. But it had the effect this time of making me focus more on the prayer itself and eventually the words. The first 100 was all about settling into the prayer, like getting comfortable in an armchair. So the first 100 was this too-ing and fro-ing between distraction and prayer. In the seconds 100 the words began to come more into focus and I was more able to direct the prayer to Jesus. This is when I started to feel a little emotional. This was also, incidentally, when people I know and am concerned about started to 'appear' in my thoughts and like a whirlpool were drawn into the prayer.  So again the Prayer moved from adoration to intercession. And out again as I came back to the words.

The last 50 prayers returned to the words themselves and I finished the prayer before concluding with some Orthodox prayers.

As in left the house to walk down to the church and our midweek prayer meeting I had a deep sense of wellbeing and peace. Is this what Isaac the Syrian meant when he composed the following:

Be at peace with your soul
then heaven and earth will be at peace with you.

Enter eagerly into the treasure house
that is within you.

Ad you will see the things that are in heaven,
for there is but one single entry to them both.

The ladder that leads to the Kingdom
is hidden within your soul....

Dive into yourself and in your soul
and you will discover the stairs by which to ascend

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