Reading the paper this morning I was awakened by an article titled "Zen for Highschoolers." The subtitle was , "Notice the Anxiety. Notice the Fear." Here was an article in a major national publication, The New York Times, with large photograph of students meditating and almost a full page dedicated to this topic. I wondered why is that we do not have such publicity about the Christain traditions that truly lead us to life that relives us of anxiety and fear? Why do we not teach the ascetic practices of fasting and prayer that lead us to an ability to know God and to control our passions, anxieties and fears?
Why not have programs for Highschoolers who are given detention and suspension for fighting and othe disruptive behaviors to teach them the ancient Christian truths and how to pray using the Jesus Prayer? How is it that a religious practice like Buddhist Zen meditation is OK in public schools but a Christian practice like the Jesus Prayer is not?
Here are some guidelines for the price of the Jesus Prayer:
The Jesus Prayer is very simple:
"Lord Jesus Christ Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner,"
(For different languages)
(For different languages)
The Jesus Prayer according to numerous Church Fathers is "essential" to our spiritual growth. The Jesus Prayer proclaims our faith and humbles us by asking mercy for our sinfulness. The Jesus Prayer is thought to be as old as the Church itself.
The Jesus Prayer, says Metropolitan Anthony Bloom, “more than any other,” helps us to be able to “stand in God’s presence.” This means that the Jesus Prayer helps us to focus our mind exclusively on God with “no other thought” occupying our mind but the thought of God. At this moment when our mind is totally concentrated on God, we discover a very personal and direct relationship with Him.
Jesus Christ - the Power In the Name
The Jesus Prayer's power comes from the use of our Lord's Name, Jesus Christ, Son of God. It is a confession of our faith....read more about the power of the name Jesus Christ
Jesus Prayer requires Humility
The Jesus Prayer in its practice assumes you are a regular participant in the worship services of the Church, in her Sacraments and aware of your sinfulness. Be sure to consult with and follow the advice of your spiritual Father. Humility is a prerequisite for all prayer, especially the Jesus Prayer....read more about role of humility in practicing the Jesus Prayer
Jesus Prayer Has Two Functions
The Jesus Prayer has two important purposes. The first is worship as with all prayer. The second is a discipline to help our soul gain control our overactive brains and create stillness so the Holy Spirit can work through us and help us live the virtues in union with God....read more about the two functions of the Jesus Prayer
Jesus Prayer Has Three Stages in Practice
The Jesus Prayer involves three stages of progress in its practice. You begin praying the Jesus Prayer by repeating the words of the prayer out loud or at least moving the lips. This is called verbal prayer. After some time saying of the Jesus Prayer becomes silent or mental and is repeated only in the mind. This is mental prayer. Finally, the Jesus Prayer becomes a continuous prayer in the heart, the inner core of our being. We begin with vocal prayer and do not force the move to mental prayer. This will happen naturally when you are ready.... read more about the three stages of the Jesus Prayer
Jesus Prayer in Practice
In praying the Jesus Prayer, our holy Fathers tell us, we say it over and over hundreds of times as part of our daily prayer rule. It is best to add the Jesus Prayer to your morning prayers as this is when the mind is the quietest. Begin by saying the Jesus Prayer verbally focusing on each word. Repeat the Jesus Prayer continually for 15 minutes at first and then expand to 30 minutes. You will experience the challenge of dealing with your thoughts, the tendency for you mind to wander. Attention when praying the Jesus Prayer is important. Be sincere in your prayer and repeat it with contrition. Praying the Jesus Prayer is that simple!... read more about how to practice the Jesus Prayer