Tuesday, October 19, 2010

When to Pray the Jesus Prayer

The aim of prayer is to do as Saint Paul instructs us, “To pray unceasingly” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). This simple prayer can easily be said anywhere.  Often we think of prayer as something we do in the morning and then in the evening or in church. But this is not right.  We must think of prayer as something that we do continuously.
Elder Paisios says,
We should always say the Jesus prayer wherever we are; not just in the morning or at night. When we walk, we should not waste our free time, but instead take advantage of it and repeat the prayer.  When we are working in a busy place and it is difficult for us to concentrate on praying, we can quietly chant without disturbing others.
The are many moments during the day when we are idle.  How often do you find yourself waiting in line for something.  This is the ideal time to pray, saying “Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me.”  Then as you begin to do this during these idle times you will gradually find yourself repeating the prayer at other times throughout the day. To help etch the prayer in our minds, it is also helpful to repeat it numerous times as part of our morning and evening prayers as well.  With God’s help, eventually it will become continuous without any effort. What you need to begin is the intention to pray unceasingly as Paul instructs.
Source: Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain, p 81

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