Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Jesus Prayer

‘Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner’

The Jesus Prayer components

  • ‘Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me , a sinner’
  • Christological hymn of Philippians 2:6-11
  • The parable of the Publican and the Pharisee, in which the Pharisee demonstrates the improper way to pray by exclaiming: "Thank you Lord that I am not like the Publican", whereas the Publican prays correctly in humility, saying "Lord have mercy on me, a sinner" (Luke 18:10-14).

The Jesus Prayer

  • Paul teaches us to ‘pray unceasingly’ (1 Thess 5:17)
  • It is also linked to the Song of Solomon's passage from the Old Testament: "I sleep, but my heart is awake" (Song of Solomon 5:2)
  • The analogy being that as a lover is always conscious to his or her beloved, people can also achieve a state of "constant prayer" where they are always conscious of God's presence in their lives.
  • Prayer of the heart
  • The Jesus Prayer is composed of two statements. The first one is a statement of faith, acknowledging the divine nature of Christ. The second one is the acknowledgment of one’s own sinfulness.
  • Out of them the petition itself emerges: "have mercy."
  • The Jesus Prayer is, first of all, a prayer addressed to God. It's not a means of self-deifying or self-deliverance.
  • The aim is not to be dissolved or absorbed into nothingness or into God, or reach another state of mind, but to (re)unite with God (which by itself is a process) while remaining a distinct person.
  • It is an invocation of Jesus' name, not vain repetition
  • Acknowledging "a sinner" is to lead firstly to a state of humbleness and repentance, recognizing one's own sinfulness.
  • Practicing the Jesus Prayer is strongly linked to mastering passions of both soul and body, e.g. by fasting.
  • Unlike mantras, the Jesus Prayer may be translated into whatever language the pray-er customarily uses. The emphasis is on the meaning, not on the mere utterance of certain sounds.
  • There is no emphasis on the psychosomatic techniques

picture source


  1. Hello,
    You wrote: "# ‘Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me , a sinner’
    # Christological hymn of Philippians 2:6-11 "

    I want to comment about atonement.

    (le-havdil) How to live in order to enable the Creator in His loving kindness to provide His kipur –atonement- is outlined in Tan’’kh ; and was also taught by Ribi Yehoshua. The first century Ribi Yehoshua from Nazareth (the Mashiakh; the Messiah).

    Read here:

    Anders Branderud

  2. Hi Anders,

    Welcome and thank you for your comment on atonement from the perspective of Judaism.

  3. Here is a site where you can learn more about the Jesus Prayer

  4. Hi Anon,

    Thanks for the link to the Orthodox prayer site. I find it very informative.