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#53181 08/11/04 03:27 PM
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For the education of those here who have not adopted the Jesus Prayer as a prayer practice, could we have an open discussion?

How many say the Jesus Prayer regularly? Is it an intermittent prayer for you, for moments of needed mercy? Or how many pray the Jesus Prayer as a counted method, using a chotki, and how often? How many say it practically continuously, as in the Way of a Pilgrim? What benefits has it brought to you?

What is the purpose of the chotki? Is it as a reminder to pray? Or is it to count strictly, as one does a rosary? What is the reason for a strict count of prayers? Is it better to simply say the prayers and leave off counting? Or is this for a more advanced person?

How many people pray the Jesus Prayer under the direction of a spiritual father? How common is it to have a spiritual father/director in the eastern tradition? Is this the priest one goes to for confession only, or does one go for a special meeting outside the normal hours of confession?

Especially, what benefits/wonders has the Lord worked in the lives of those who practice this prayer?

Any other pertinent information you believe is important would be good to add for the benefit of those learning!

Thank you for a modern day picture of the use of the Jesus Prayer!

In Christ and the Theotokos,

Tammy

#53182 08/11/04 08:55 PM
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Tammy,

I can speak for only myself, but I find that a chotki is helpful not so much for counting (unless of course a certain number of repetitions has been commanded as penance or some such,) but that the tactile cue of the knots in addition to the act of prayer is more likely to keep me "on task."

What other value is there to a chotki? Some of us take very seriously the prayer of blessing, that it should be "efficacious even unto bodily salvation." When in use it can be a life preserver (tho' of course, the object bears no power of itself). And yes, I'm serious.

My spiritual father got transferred out of state, and I miss him more than words can say. As it happens, he is a priest, and before he moved, he was also my confessor. This isn't always the case, and direction per se is normally separate from confession even if both take place in the same visit. In the East especially, direction was less linked to someone in Orders than to someone of known holiness and discernment, no matter their state in life. Direction as a whole is less common now than it was in the past, and it's a mystery to me why. Just about every great spiritual writer of the East AND West speak eloquently and forcefully of the need for direction in the spiritual life, the need to lay all your crazy notions at the feet of your spiritual Father or Mother, and NOT to depend on yer own powers of discernment or judgement. I suspect that there may be something in the idea of direction that runs contrary to the "independence-minded" American psyche. (Y'all know that the dirtiest word in the English language is "obedience.") It's not a healthy development. But it also must be said that a man or woman with the prayer life, the discernment and the balance to be a good director is a rare bird. I have been blessed over time to be under the care of a couple of 'em, but I think the Lord keeps trying to make sure I don't get too attached, so it's never been more than a year or two before they get promoted, moved, whatever. (I'm the Kiss of Death, MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! wink )

Anyway, back to the Jesus prayer... wink I've never had a confessor or director tell me to pray the Jesus Prayer (except as penance occasionally) nor instruct me in its use. It's a practice I began because it spoke to my heart. It does not yet pray itself in my heart - or maybe it does and I'm still too deaf to hear it. Over time I have come to love the prayer, not least because it places me in right relationship to the Lord. It establishes who He is, what I am, and my greatest need - which only He knows fully. I have had confessors/directors suggest that I SHOULD pray, and the Jesus Prayer is a goodly part of how I pray. Does that make sense?

As for miracles associated with the prayer, well, I consider miraculous the fact that the Lord has, over time, begun to shape something that more or less resembles a Christian out of me. I don't think that's tied up in the Jesus prayer specifically, save for that's the channel I most often use to keep the dialogue of love going on my end. And just as using proper posture allows you to breathe and/or sing better, assuming the proper "posture" before the Lord lets the Holy Spirit breathe and/sing freely in us.

Hope this makes sense....

In Christ,

Sharon

#53183 08/12/04 01:16 AM
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I try to say the Jesus prayer when I have idle time on my hands such as waiting time, you know waiting to be checked out at the counter, for a train, whatever. I find it a comfort trying to get to sleep. I say it a lot while driving my car. So, many occassions when this prayer can be said it boggles the mind. I even try to do the slow deliberate breathing (Zen) exercise. Inhale= Lord Jesus Christ Son of God, Exhale= Have mercy on me a sinner. Its like breathing in Christ and exhaling sin. But thats just me.

JoeS

#53184 08/12/04 01:39 AM
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I had a cassette tape many years ago with a Jesus Prayer chant on one side and instuctions on the other side. I found it quite helpful and quite centering at the time. I have to admit I've fallen away from it in recent years, so instead of improving and making it a part of myself I went in the other direction. I occasionally recite the prayer now like stated above- as a time filler- which I feel a little guilty admitting!
Marya

#53185 10/19/04 04:37 AM
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Glory to Jesus Christ!

I just became a member of this forum tonight. Please refer to my first posting entitled, The Jesus Prayer. I'm a guy that has not stuck with the Prayer long enough to have a work done in me by the Lord. Sometimes I think to myself, "Self, why will repeating this prayer over and over again bring me closer to Christ, and will help me to grow in virtue?" I think I irritate Him with my lack of consistency and faith. I've read a lot of books (ones that focus on a person who prays the prayer or the benefits of the prayer itself), so I have a basic understanding of the Prayer. Despite my inconsistencies, I do continue to have an attraction to this form of Christ centered prayer--I always have. Anyway, I am open to your advice--books, practical information, and your prayers. Thank you in advance. Solanus

#53186 10/19/04 07:22 AM
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Solanus,

Welcome to our family.

Many years,

Neil


"One day all our ethnic traits ... will have disappeared. Time itself is seeing to this. And so we can not think of our communities as ethnic parishes, ... unless we wish to assure the death of our community."
#53187 10/20/04 03:16 AM
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May the Lord bless us all. Thank you for your welcome. By the way, I once frequented a Melkite-Greek Catholic Church in Sacramento, California. I love the Melkite Divine Liturgy. The food in the hall afterwards was really good too. I'm also very Irish. Through the prayers of the Mother of God, may God bless you. Solanus

#53188 10/20/04 12:56 PM
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Dear Solanus,

I, in particular, owe much to some of the Irish refugees to the Ukrainian CAtholic Church (like Fr. Serge Keleher)!

But honestly, to have these Irishmen come into our church ( smile ) and know more about it than we do is one thing.

For them to start speaking Ukrainian better than we is quite ANOTHER!

The nerve . . . smile

Alex

#53189 10/22/04 02:08 PM
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Listing of all english books on the Jesus Prayer and many good links to online articles.

http://www.hesychasm.ru/en/library.htm


My cromulent posts embiggen this forum.
#53190 10/27/04 01:50 AM
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I say the Jesus Prayer when I need mercy. So, while not intermittently (amazing how a culture can soak one to the bone in secularism), I only pray when I need it the most. I am not guilty for saying this, but I am repentant, and am trying to trust in Him who will save me.


Torn betwixt body and soul; somewhere between heaven and earth; is where the penitent but chained sinner weeps. -Errai, "Our Friend Errai", Short story I have not finished.
#53191 10/27/04 02:58 AM
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I've been saying the Jesus prayer for years. I don't use a chokti (sp?) even though I have one. I say it when I'm bored. I don't count but I probably say it a number of times every day.

But I'm not a 'spiritual' person so I can't say that it's helped me.

#53192 10/27/04 03:16 AM
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Quote
Originally posted by Jennifer:
But I'm not a 'spiritual' person so I can't say that it's helped me.
Jennifer,

I think it's not always clear to ourselves that we are "spiritual" people or whether or not we have been helped by a spiritual exercise or prayer. The exploration that you have undertaken of where you are going with your own life certainly suggests that you are a spiritual person. Otherwise, one suspects that you would contentedly stay where you are presently and just meander through the rote process of being Catholic, rather than seeking out a particular spiritual environment that you find more conducive to worship and more spiritually edifying to you as a person. I think you don't give enough credit to prayer's effects or to yourself smile .

Many years,

Neil


"One day all our ethnic traits ... will have disappeared. Time itself is seeing to this. And so we can not think of our communities as ethnic parishes, ... unless we wish to assure the death of our community."
#53193 10/27/04 03:26 AM
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I guess what I mean Neil is that when I read boards like this (I'm not referring to any particular post or poster), I get the feeling that other people are so much more 'spiritual' than me.

To be honest, I know it's a personality thing more than anything else. I'm a more analytical person.

One thing that attracts me to the 'east' is that it seems like 'gooey' to me. That probably makes no sense. Sometimes I feel like RC spirituality is emotionally manipulative.

#53194 10/27/04 03:38 AM
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Jennifer, sometimes when I am so consumed by accidie it is easy to think I am just repeating some words.

And as Neil mentions, every person has a soul, and therefore we are all "spiritual".

The Prayer has most certainly helped me and continues to help me and be my companion. Perhaps not physically, but it indeed brings us closer to God every time we say it with our heart. The pilgrim in the Way of the Pilgrim calls it the entire synopsis of the Gospels in one statement. Try to say it with your heart, and not just a repetition of words. Sometimes I will say it verrrry slow when I think I am being careless.

Regarding how many times, etc. it's something that is very personal and dear to the Christian, and not something we go around saying how many times, how often we say it, etc. lest we be tempted into thinking we are somehow better spiritually than another.

That should really be settled between the spiritual father/mother and the person. Just keep saying it and getting closer to God. It may not "feel" that way, but "feelings" are often superficial at best and sometimes misleading at worst.

#53195 10/27/04 04:32 AM
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Quote
Originally posted by Jennifer:
I guess what I mean Neil is that when I read boards like this (I'm not referring to any particular post or poster), I get the feeling that other people are so much more 'spiritual' than me.

To be honest, I know it's a personality thing more than anything else. I'm a more analytical person.

One thing that attracts me to the 'east' is that it seems like 'gooey' to me. That probably makes no sense. Sometimes I feel like RC spirituality is emotionally manipulative.
Jennifer,

I can relate to the "analytical person" that is you, because it's me as well smile . As a general rule, I too feel that most others of my brothers and sisters here are significantly "more spiritual" than me.

Asked what my role is here, I'd describe myself as an "information-mongerer" rather than anything else. I have had a constant thirst for the East since I came to it almost 40 years ago and the web makes it easier to slake that thirst, since it puts reams of information at my fingertips. Here, I try to dispense it; you'll notice that many (most) of my posts consist in offering folks links to info that they are seeking. Alex has kindly intimated that I'm the one most likely to find documentation on the net (if it exists) for whatever one is seeking biggrin . I don't think of that as a particularly spiritual mission, but I comfort myself in believing that it may help others to meet their spiritual needs.

Despite your analytical self, you acknowledge that it's the "gooieness" of the East that draws you. I can relate to that as well, although I have to admit I never thought to phrase it that way (probably because I'm unsure how to spell it, and I hate misspellings :p ). I think the mystical and ethereal nature of Eastern spirituality fills a void in the hearts and souls of we analytical types (especially Irish ones, since being analytical is so foreign to our whole ethno-cultural ethos :rolleyes: ).

That said, I read the words of those more spiritual than me, meditate on them, and hope that I'll be the better at trying to be spiritual from having encountered those thoughts and ideas. Put your mind and heart at rest and look forward to the "gooieness" enveloping you - it will, you know.

Many years,

Neil


"One day all our ethnic traits ... will have disappeared. Time itself is seeing to this. And so we can not think of our communities as ethnic parishes, ... unless we wish to assure the death of our community."
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