Prayer of the Heart

The Jesus Prayer and the Acquisition of Inner Peace

The Jesus Prayer, also known as the  Prayer of the Heart, is the central prayer for monastics. One of the early desert fathers, Saint Macarius the Great, said of the phrase from the Psalms, “The meditation of my heart is in your sight”, “There is no other perfect meditation than the saving and blessed Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ dwelling without interruption in you, as it is written ‘I will cry out like the swallow and I will meditate like the turtledove!’ This is what is done by the devout (person) who perseveres in invoking the saving Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The profound simplicity of the Jesus Prayer, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner” makes it the perfect prayer, allowing us to follow the injunction of the of the Apostle Paul, that we “should pray always”.

The prayer can be said in various shortened versions, such as “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.”, or simply, “Lord Jesus Christ.”

Over the years I’ve heard so many people tell me that they have difficulty concentrating on their daily prayers. They’ve shared that they struggle with thoughts coming into their minds that distract them from prayer. Others have said the same thing happens during the public services in the temple. The Prayer of the Heart can help, for it is a way to dispel outside thoughts and bring our attention back to the Holy Name of Jesus.

This Prayer enriches our lives in every way as it can be used throughout the day, and in every situation. We can pray the Jesus Prayer while working, driving to the store in heavy traffic (it is a splendid way to refrain from road rage), and even while sitting in boring meetings at the office. I use this prayer when hearing confessions, or when counseling, since it is a way of seeking guidance from the Holy Spirit when giving spiritual direction.

I promise you, if you take up this Prayer for yourself, it will contribute to peace of heart, stillness of the mind and keep you centered in things of God. It will also allow you to participate in a spiritual practice that is as old as the Church herself.

In this Prayer we are not only asking for God’s mercy, but declaring a confession of Faith. The Lord Jesus Christ is God and able to grant mercy and forgiveness of our sins. He is Lord of our lives and the imparting of his mercy gives us life.

“Lord Jesus Christ, having mercy on me a sinner.”

Love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Thursday February 15, 2018 / February 2, 2018
Week of the Last Judgment. Tone three.
Maslenitsa. Meat is excluded

The Meeting of Our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Venerable Shio Mgvime (6th c.) (Georgia) (movable holiday on Thursday of the Cheese-fare Week).
New Hieromartyr Basil priest, Martyr Michael (1938).
St. Anthimus of Chios (1960).
New Martyr Jordan of Trebizond (1650) (Greek).
New Martyr Gabriel at Constantinople (1676) (Greek).
Martyr Agathodorus of Cappadocia (Greek).

The Scripture Readings

Luke 2:25-32

Simeon Sees God’s Salvation

25 And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, 28 he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:

29 “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace,
According to Your word;
30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation
31 Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
32 A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.”

Hebrews 7:7-17

7 Now beyond all contradiction the lesser is blessed by the better. 8 Here mortal men receive tithes, but there he receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives. 9 Even Levi, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, so to speak, 10 for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him.

Need for a New Priesthood

11 Therefore, if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was therethat another priest should rise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron? 12 For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law. 13 For He of whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no man has officiated at the altar.

14 For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood. 15 And it is yet far more evident if, in the likeness of Melchizedek, there arises another priest 16 who has come, not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life. 17 For He testifies:

“You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek.”

Luke 2:22-40

Jesus Presented in the Temple

22 Now when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”), 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”

Simeon Sees God’s Salvation

25 And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, 28 he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:

29 “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace,
According to Your word;
30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation
31 Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
32 A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.”

33 And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against 35 (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

Anna Bears Witness to the Redeemer

36 Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; 37 and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. 38 And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.

The Family Returns to Nazareth

39 So when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. 40 And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.

Abbot Tryphon

About Abbot Tryphon

The Very. Rev. Abbot Tryphon All-Merciful Saviour Monastery on Vashon Island, Washington. The Monastery is under the omophore of The Most Rev. Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America, of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. Situated in the heart of a beautiful forest, surrounded by the Salish Sea, the monastery is reached by ferry from either Seattle, or Tacoma, Washington.

8 comments:

  1. The Jesus Prayer has changed my life. I first became acquainted with it when I was still a Catholic. Bishop Robert Barron recommended it in one of his videos. So I looked into the history of the Jesus Prayer. Soon I began reading about Orthodoxy. I think this was about 3 years before I became Orthodox. Surely the Jesus Prayer must be a major conduit for us to become fishers of men, because it was very powerful in drawing me to Holy Orthodoxy. Thank you Abbot Tryphon for your writing and ministry.

  2. I try to pray it throughout the day, but it’s good to carve out a little dedicated time. I say it slowly, and aloud, but gently and quietly. 50 or 100 reps.

    Coming from a Catholic background, it’s replaced the Rosary in my prayer routine. Takes about the same amount of time: 20 minutes.

  3. Have you heard of the Optina 500? The monks there would pray 300 “Jesus prayers”, 100 ” My Most Holy Lady Theotokos, save me, a sinner”, 50 “O Holy Angel of God, my guardian, pray to God for me, a sinner”, and 50 ” All Saints, pray to God for me, a sinner.”

    I shorten it to 100 total: 50 Jesus, 20 Theotokos, 10 Guardian Angel, 10 All Saints, and 10 more Jesus prayers.

    If you say the Lord’s Prayer afterwards, it’s the best Our Father you’ll say all day!

  4. I find that my mind wanders, too. It happens more now, because I have all my prayers memorized from saying them for a long time. I could get a new prayer book, but I also like the fact that if I’m out somewhere, like the hospital or out on the road without my prayer book, I can still say them. A wandering mind, I’m beginning to see, is not a unique or uncommon problem. I don’t say the Jesus prayer nearly enough, and will correct that. I don’t let myself get upset when my mind wanders. I’m pretty sure God knows I’m a ding bat, but I’m a ding bat who’s trying.

  5. I have not come as far as any of the people above. I fight a bloody fight during theJesus prayer that I do several times a day. Well, I am a big sinner. Maybe that is why. It seems never ending only getting fiercer and fiercer.

  6. Christ est parmi nous ! (God is among us! – in French)

    ”Merci” for this nice podcast on the Jesus Prayer.

    Since our Great Lent will start this week, can you please do something similar with the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete and also with the great lenten prayer of St. Ephrem?

    -In XC
    Luc

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