The JESUS PRAYER as the Prayer for all Conditions of man

The JESUS PRAYER as the Prayer for all Conditions of man

My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,


The JESUS PRAYER as the Prayer for all Conditions of man
By Archimandrite Sophrony

To pray judiciously in the Name of JESUS means invoking Him; means incorporating in this word JESUS the act of creation and, subsequently, THE ACT OF DIVINE SALVATION. He is OUR CREATOR. He is likewise OUR SAVIOR. He is our unique Teacher (cf. Matthew 23:10). He is OUR ONLY WAY TO THE Father. In Him, ABSOLUTE Truth is made manifest to us. Through Him, we know also the Father and RECEIVE THE GIFTS OF THE Holy Spirit. In Him ALONE WE ARE MADE WORTHY TO ‘RECEIVE THE ADOPTION OF SONS’ (Galatians 4:5).

However, we confine our prayer to this one short Name only in those exceptional hours when we are too overwrought for a longer prayer. On the whole, we must SLOW DOWN MIND AND HEART, and keep to the fuller, more traditional formula which includes CONFESSION OF OUR SINFULNESS.
When the JESUS PRAYER with all its theological content IS SO GRAFTED ON TO OUR HEART AND MIND, it can replace all other prayers. Thus, we may well be concerned with our own condition, and then we pray, ‘LORD JESUS CHRIST, SON OF GOD, HAVE MERCY UPON ME, A SINNER.’ On another occasion, it is those nearest and dearest to us who preoccupy our thoughts, and we cry, ‘Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon us.’ (In praying for other people we do not speak of ‘us sinners’, since I may only confess that I myself am a sinner–it is for God alone to judge other people.) Perhaps we are troubled about events concerning our fellow citizens, our country, and the world at large. And then we implore, ‘Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy upon us and upon Thy whole world.’

Prayer in the Name of JESUS gradually unites us with Him. At first, we may not know ‘Who this is’ (cf. Matthew 21:10): we are simply aware OF STRENGTH COMING FROM Him. But further progress depends ON AN EVER-GROWING RECOGNITION OF OUR SINFULNESS. And when we become so overwhelmingly sensible of the distance separating us from God that all is pain and despair–THEN DO WE BEGIN IN EARNEST TO CALL UPON THE Name of God, Our Savior, ‘JESUS, SAVE ME.’ The unanimous witness of our holy Fathers throughout the centuries of Christian asceticism insists on the extreme importance of acknowledging OURSELVES AS SINNERS. ‘if we say that we have NO SIN, we DECEIVE OURSELVES, AND THE TRUTH IS NOT IN US’ (1 John 1:8).

God breathed His breath into man, and we feel drawn to Him. We are tormented by the longing to reach Him, TO BE UNITED WITH Him for all eternity. He calls to us, WAITS FOR US WITH LOVE. This thirst for God colours our whole life. And in this state, we continue to our dying day.
Christ thirsted for us to know the Father. He called to us: “IF ANY MAN THIRST, LET HIM COME UNTO ME, AND DRINK” (John 7:37). “He that believeth on Me shall never thirst” (John 6:35). “Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14). “No man cometh unto the Father, but by Me” (Jon 14:6). And we, in our urge to come to the Father call upon the Name of His Son: LORD JESUS CHRIST, SON OF GOD, HAVE MERCY UPON ME, A SINNER.

When we utter the Name of JESUS CHRIST, appealing to Him to be joined with us, He Who is Omnipresent hears us. We make LIVING CONTACT with Him. Christ as the Pre-Eternal Logos/Word dwells inseparably with the Father. God the Father enters INTO COMMUNION WITH MAN THROUGH His Logos/Word, through Christ His Son.

For the practice of prayer to lead to the results of which our holy Fathers and instructors speak with such rapture, it is essential to follow their teaching, which stipulates, firstly, COMPLETE FAITH IN CHRIST as God and Savior, and, secondly, RECOGNITION THAT WE ARE IN MORTAL DANGER. The HUMBLER OUR OPINION OF OURSELVES, THE MORE SWIFTLY OUR PRAYER RISES TO GOD. So soon, as we lose humility, each and every ASCETIC EFFORT IS NULLIFIED. If PRIDE is active in us, or FAULT-FINDING, or UNFRIENDLINESS, the Lord stands remote from us.

We COME TO GOD AS THE MOST WRETCHED OF SINNERS. We CONDEMN OURSELVES IN ALL THINGS. We have no thought for nothing–we seek nothing–but FORGIVENESS AND MERCY. We sentence ourselves to hell. And this is our continuing state. We ask God to help us not to grieve the Holy Spirit BY OUR PASSIONS; not to harm our brother-man. We do not look for any special gifts from on High. With our utmost strength, we try to grasp the true import of Christ’s commandments AND TO LIVE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THEM. We appeal to Him: LORD JESUS CHRIST, SON OF GOD, HAVE MERCY UPON ME, A SINNER. God hears this kind of prayer and hastens to our rescue. “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered” (Joel 2:32). (Source: His Life is Mine)


“Glory Be To GOD
All Things!”
– Saint John Chrysostomos

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With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+ Father George

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