Sunday, 8 September 2013

More than words

On the face of it saying the Jesus Prayer is just about taking a few words and repeating them over and over, but as I and many others have discovered, there is more to it than that. Here is what Frederica writes in her book on the Jesus Prayer:

("If that is all you do)'ll soon run into trouble. You can try to force your mind to keep going over and over the words, like a gerbil on a wheel, but it's going to get pretty tedious.

The hard part is to mean them. The hard part is to pull together all your attention, though it kicks like a toddler, and focus it on the Lord, and then humbly ask for his mercy. Learning to actually mean the Jesus Prayer, from ever-deepening regions of your heart, is what makes the practice so challenging."

What is true of the Jesus Prayer is of course true of every prayer, especially those written by others. It is all too easy to say prayers but to actually pray prayers is what makes them come alive. So too with the Jesus Prayer. There is nothing magic about either the repetition of the prayer or in using those particular words. It is the intention behind the saying of them and the focus on the person you are talking to.

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