Saturday, April 24, 2010

Pray with Spirit

Many ask, "How do I practice the Jesus Prayer?"  What I have learned is that there is no one way to follow.  You must, however, begin with sincerity, faith and a love for Christ and a commitment to carry out His will.  It is NOT a technique to bring peace of mind or a relaxed state of being.  

Here are some thoughts from Elder Nikodim of Karoulia:
"Don't just pronounce the words.  You have to see the Lord Himself in the prayer.... If with our mind we only say the words, then we will not look upon the Lord, and this is not enough for prayer."
Every Father I have read emphasizes this.  It is a PRAYER. It will not benefit you to engage in the reciting of these words If you are not truly repentant and seeking mercy from God. 
"God is spirit. As He explained to the Samaritan woman, 'You will worship in spirit.'  We pray in spirit to the Lord Himself..."
You may begin with a mental prayer, but the prayer will become one of spirit with our sincere effort. It is important to begin by saying the prayer out loud so your mind initiates it and also hears it.  This will help you control the distractions you will surely encounter.

The Elder expands on this idea of prayer in spirit:
You have to look upon the Lord with faith. Look upon the Lord and believe that the Lord is looking upon you. In spirit, pray in spirit!  God demands worshippers who worship Him in spirit. God is a Spirit and one must worship Him in spirit. We, with our spirit, pray to God in Spirit.  Our spirit is united with God.  When we turn to God the Spirit with faith, then the Lord will look upon us and the human spirit will be united with the Spirit of the Lord at the time of prayer.
Your sprit must address the Lord, and sense the Lord.  then there will be an echo; you'll receive a response.  Mercy will come to you.  This is all by faith––it's accomplished by faith––by faith and compulsion.  Thats what it is!
As you practice this prayer you will be lead to greater contrition and a deeper awareness of your sinfulness.  At the same time your love for christ and you desire to be united with Him increases even though the apparent separation may seem to increase. 
And at the time of the prayer, if you go through the whole prayer rope, then tears will begin to flow... contrition will come, and then warmth of heart will set in.
Everyone has their unique pathway to God.  The use of this prayer is one that has helped many.  For me it is one I will never put down. Please seek a guide in the use of this prayer.

More on Jesus Prayer

Quotes from The Christ the Eternal Tao, pp 346-347.

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