|Praying in the Heart
The Jesus Prayer is designed, as I understand it, to
be prayed 'in the heart' over and over again. The idea is that one begins,
perhaps while doing some piece of handwork, and learns to direct it, as
time and practise go on, upon every person, thing, event you meet, whether
within, or without yourself.
It certainly does no harm to be aware of 'speaking
in your head, from the heart' while you are praying this prayer. I mean,
that one prays silently, but is aware of one's real, physical heart (perhaps
even become quiet enough to hear it as you pray).
Breathing this Prayer
The prayer begins, 'Lord Jesus Christ, son of the living
have mercy on me, a sinner'.
This is straight from the gospels.
You can time it with your breathing. I've heard people
recommend that one say 'Lord Jesus Christ, on the 'in' breath, hold the
breath for 'son of the living God', breathe out for 'have mercy on me',
and hold for 'a sinner'.
This can be really calming. I recommend it in moments
of stress, for at the same time one takes control of ones mind, and ones
automatic physical functions.
|It centres the self. Puts oneself and one's doings right
where they belong. In context.
At first you learn to change deliberately from one section
of the prayer to another.
From 'on me, a sinner' to 'on us'. (I heard it
explained that one can't make a judgement about any one elses sinfulness,
potential or actual, therefore the prayer rests simply on 'us'). Then on
to 'on us, and all your world'.
The Everchanging Pool of Quietness
In fact, especially when you are first using it, the prayer
becomes like a pool of rings circling out from yourself into the world
and then back again.
This prayer seems to have been a great favourite with
the Orthodox 'Staretzim', and there are many wonderful books to be read
about it and its affects. I like it chiefly because one quickly feels wonderful
when one has prayed it.
Once when I was ill, I remember sitting up knitting while
I used this prayer this prayer. It became like a pool of peace. Somehow
after one had practised it, whatever one laid eyes on became 'us', 'us,
and all your world' or even, crestfallen, 'me, a sinner'.