Friday, September 24, 2010

Conditions for Practice of the Jesus Prayer

Elder Macarius gives us the conditions for the practice of the Jesus Prayer.

• Access to experienced Spiritual director
• Absolute obedience to the director
• Keen sense of responsibility to God, men, and even things
• True humility
• A detailed and sensitive execution of God's commandments
• Thorough cleansing of the heart from sins and passions

All the above are important to avoid the dangers of our pride and self-willed action.  It is easy in our culture of self-help remedies to turn prayer into a method.  When this happens you will only amplify your own ego.

Elder Macarius says,
A proud, self-willed decision to acquire through this practice greater spiritual gifts, abilities, or consolations, is a sin and a great danger.
Pride, the greatest  enemy––not of mental prayer only but of all religious practice––lies in wait for us, all along the way.
It is out of a burning desire to ask our Lord for forgiveness for our sinfulness that we should long to practice the Jesus Prayer.

The Elder says,
Only those who always feel like the publican at prayer, and the prodigal son on his way home, can practice with impunity. 

Reference: Russian Letters of Spiritual Direction, pp 98-99 

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