About The Jesus Prayer

Syllabus
by Fr. Harvey

This course is designed to familiarize one with the history, practice and depths attainable through practice of the Jesus Prayer, known also as the Prayer of the Heart.

Early on within the Christian community, around the third and fourth centuries, groups of men and women literally moved into the deserts of Egypt and Syria. There they were able to strip themselves of everything superfluous and self centered in order to live as close as possible in the presence of God. They had answered literally the call of Jesus to leave all and follow Him. Pseudo Marcarius in his Spiritual Homilies describes them as "men intoxicated with God." Called by the Holy Spirit that had sent Jesus into the desert, they sought to pray always as St. Paul exhorts the Thessalonians. "Pray without ceasing." 1 Thess. 5:17.

The answer to this dilemma was found within scripture buried within the second prayer that Jesus taught. Jesus had taught his disciples to pray the Our Father, but within the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector, Luke 18:9-14, was another prayer. "God have mercy on me a sinner."

Taking this as a starting point and continuing to search scripture it was found that in John 16:23 that Jesus had taught, "...whatever you ask the Father in my name; He will give you." Other close examples of the Jesus Prayer can be found with the blind beggar, Luke 18:38, who said; "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me." Even after being rebuked the beggar kept calling out; "Son of David, have mercy on me." This in turn followed another example taught by Jesus, Luke 11:5-14, where it is indicated that one must ask over and over and use "persistence" in prayer. This is bolstered by Luke 18:6 where it says: "Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night?"

Thus the Jesus Prayer was born. The common words being; "Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me a sinner." These words were repeated over and over forming what one could call the first Christian mantra. The mere use of the Holy name of Jesus lifted one into the divine presence. Deification took place and many miracles were reported of those who practiced this prayer. These early Christians of the desert literally became the prayer as with practice the prayer moved into their hearts and joined to the rhythm of their breathing. It was said one could fall asleep and upon awakening know exactly what word the prayer was on as it continued by itself, vocally within.

Jesus Christ waits for us to pronounce His holy name. There is a mystical magic to this act, as each time the name Jesus Christ is said, He becomes more manifest, born again and again within ones heart. With each saying of His holy name, He is able to become solidified and more a part of ourselves. Mary first pronounced His name. We were given this power upon baptism, a power that increases each time we utter His sacred name, especially with reverence and love. Jesus Christ then lives in a new and wonderful way within our hearts. As Paul says in Ephesians 3:14-19: "For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, rooted and grounded in love may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God."

There are basically three stages to the Jesus Prayer. At first one prays aloud using the voice. This develops into habit whereas the prayer comes easy to the mind and is familiar. Then in the second stage the prayer becomes more interior. It acquires a rhythm of its own and the mind repeats it without any conscious act of the will. Warmth comes into being and one feels lost and even empty without the companionship of the prayer. Finally comes the last stage, whereas the prayer enters the heart, dominating the whole of the personality. The movement of the heart becomes the movement of the prayer and as the two become one, breathing enters the picture and a trinity is forged. It is at this stage that the prayer continues and has life of its own. No matter what the person is doing, talking, eating, writing or sleeping, the prayer continues of its own volition. Then one joins St. Paul and cries out; "...yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me." Ga. 2:20.

The use of the Jesus Prayer became known as hesychia. A word that means "inner calm" or tranquility or peace. Hesychia is a state whereas Christians through grace and their own intense asceticism can reintegrate their whole being into a single entity that is completely under the direct influence and filled with the Trinity dwelling within.

St. Gregory of Sinai is credited with starting the renaissance of hesychasm on Mt. Athos in the 14th century. This later movement became the central Orthodox doctrine of mystical union with God. The writings of the early fathers were collected and became the basis for the Philokalia (in Greek, meaning, "the love of the good.") This was compiled by St. Nikodimos of the holy mountain (Mt. Athos) and Macarius of Corinth and first published in Greek in Venice in 1782. The Philokalia was later translated into Church Slavonic and spread to Rumania and throughout Russia. Today it is finally being translated and published in English.

However no book on the Jesus Prayer will ever out shine a simple little work called, "The Way of a Pilgrim." This work was translated into European Languages after Russian emigrants brought it to the West. This unpretentious tale of a Russian pilgrim has taught generations how to practice and pray the Jesus Prayer and paved the way for westerners to learn and appreciate the divine manifestations of our Eastern brothers and sisters in Christ and share in this wondrous adventure of becoming literally one with Christ.

REQUIRED READING

The Way of a Pilgrim and the Pilgrim Continues His Way, translated by R. M. French Hope Publishing House, 1993. Or, any of the many other translations that are extant.

ASSIGNMENT

Write a position paper on what you find of interest within the pages of the above book and/or how the transforming energy of the Jesus Prayer can affect your life and Christian ministry.

SUGGESTED READING

Brianchaninov, Ignatius, "On the Prayer of Jesus" trans. Lazarus Moore (Element, Inc. 1993) $11.95

Maloney, George A. S.J., "Centering on the Lord Jesus" (Performance Press 1987) $6.00

Maloney, George A. S.J., "Jesus Prayer for Modern Pilgrims" (Notre Dame, Indiana: Ave Maria Press, 1981) $6.00

Merton, Thomas, "The Wisdom of the Desert" (New York: New Directions 1960) $6.00

French, R.M., "The Way of a Pilgrim" (Hope Publishing House, 1993) $11.00


When completed with this assignment, send to:

Fr. Harvey Beagle
614 N. 7th Street
Yakima, Wa.98901
or e-mail to yakimapaper@charter.net


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DISCLAIMER NOTICE: The views expressed at this website regarding any article not directly connected to religious content is the opinion or commentary of the author which we may not necessarily believe in, accept or support, and some religious articles we may not accept or support either. We take no responsibility or liability for the content of any news item or article presented as any information provided which you rely upon requires that you, the reader/viewer, take action to verify its worthiness on your own.  We have deduced to a minor degree, that the information provided by the author is such that warrants posting for you the viewer/reader only... and that any statements or purported facts, including any news item, is for you to verify as to its authenticity.  We take no liability and no responsibility for its accuracy whatsoever! You who are new visitors, may wish to read a very short article below entitled "The purpose for presenting our Daily News section" Sadly to say, we take no pleasure in stating that some of the items we post are not from what we would call true "Christian" organizations. But we post it because it provides another side of the proverbial story.  The Church, after all, is supposed to be a temple for sick souls (sinners) without distinction between their worse sins or otherwise, but it seems to some organizations that they say much about others, but fail and refuse to upbraid themselves and their members for their own sins...)

 

"Never, never, never let anyone tell you that, in order to be Orthodox, you must also be eastern. The West was Orthodox for a thousand years, and her venerable liturgy is far older than any of her heresies."

 

- Blessed St. John Maximovitch of Shanghai and San Francisco

The purpose for presenting this Daily News section:

Daily News is very important to those who are true Orthodox Catholic Christians.  For without knowing or gaining information for understanding about what is happening in one's local area and around the world, you could  find yourself faced with denied services in the secular area, lack of income, even (although it sounds far-fetched) ability to worship openly for the time is not far off when all will have to decide if they wish to follow the Anti-Christ through the One World Church and One World Government as prophesied by the Apocalypse, the Book of Revelation of St. John or follow the faith delivered once and for all which will cause for many to be denied the abilities to survive under those kind of conditions, causing for one to consider other options. 

 

Many of those who subscribe to, and some who have caused or are the cause for, these things to happen are involved in or with the Roman Jurisdiction of the Catholic Church (which is not the seat of all things "Catholic") as well as its protestant daughters such as the cultic Jehovah's Witnesses, the Pentecostal Churches, the Church of Latter Day Saints also known as the Mormon Church and far too many more to list. 

 

Yet, at this web site we do provide some of the reasons about why they are opined to be the harbingers of that which is prophesied in Holy Scripture for the bringing about of the End Times which we have already entered.  It is not necessarily their individual members or parishioners that should be blamed since they are only the "Sheep" and not the Shepherds... So do not think we castigate individual people of themselves as we castigate those "money changers" who Jesus Christ chased out of His Father's House as the Bible Describes; for they exist in these present times too.

 

Events are already rushing toward that time in which this is beginning to happen and will become more fully wide-spread. In these present times all you need to really do is look around both your local and larger areas as to what is really on-going through.  Things so very little or miniscule that they are barely noticeable except to the more informed observer may become apparent. 

Those little things are the laws of the land, economics, politics, the degrading and erosion of those rights and liberties afforded by the Constitution of these United States of America and many other things such as the manner with which entertainments have taken over much of the populace, entering into and becoming a major focus in worship, and more. 

We ask you, if you don't want to believe us... Have you heard, seen or found what is termed (of the many terms being used) that there are "holding areas" or "camps" or "Closed/Fenced communities" being built by GOVERNMENT? 

Here in North America, especially in the United States of America, we must admit that what Russia has come out of (a communistic, atheist country) we are entering into.  And one last thing that needs also to be understood... Something very important to those of you who are "Catholic" in the Roman sense of its jurisdiction....   And, we believe this also holds true for many who are "Orthodox" whether "Eastern" or "Western"....

[ * Non-Denominational = Synchrestic Ecumenism, Disease of Scholasticism, altering the Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ to accommodate the disease of Political Correctness and CULTIC PROTESTANTISM, and the Roman Jurisdiction (Latin Church = Vatican) of the Catholic Church) breaking of - or failure and refusal to respect and abide by  - the ancient Seven Ecumenical "Do Not" Canons which leaves everything else open to God's gift of creativity... failure & refusal to abide by and have respect for those who diligently protect one of the other Pillars of the Church, the Seals of the Confessional, but "Non-Denominational" also includes worshiping Satan's religion of Muslim, Islam by praying with them and other heretics such as 'Pentecostalism,' 'Jehovah's Witnesses,' 'Mormons,' 'Church of Christ,' any so-called church with "Community Church" in their nomenclature and others who by their false and misleading dogmas and doctrines are actually against the Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ upon whom and for exacting reason we are called "Christian" in both spirit and truth from which non-denominational protestant sectarian claimants have departed from as being so-called Christian] Only a skilled spiritual father can help you!

Remember: You cannot ride two horses or serve two masters for one of them will be harmed by your thoughts, your very words and your actions which is to blaspheme the Holy Ghost (Spirit) who will depart from you.  And when the Holy Spirit departs, the great deceiver (unbeknownst to you) will rush in to fill the void under disguise of being the Holy Spirit!  Testing of the Holy Spirit to insure it is the Holy Spirit does not, for many a Sectarian Protestant and Roman, work because the Great Deceiver (Satan) is most skilled in worming and snaking his charms around your mind and heart to feign being the Holy Spirit.  Remember, Satan has the same gifts similar to the Holy Spirit but Satan's gifts are UN-HOLY and lead all who accept him (unbeknownst to you) to perdition.

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