top of page

The Jesus Prayer: An Ancient Spirituality That Could Change Your Life

This method of prayer is both simple and profound: the life of the Christian is forged by a prayer of the heart

Made by AI
Made by AI

The Desert Fathers were famous for their acts of devotion to Jesus Christ. Among these many devotions was the habit known as the Jesus Prayer. 

This prayer at first glance is a short, simple prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

This is repeated over and over again. However this simple prayer in reality is a deep, multifaceted path to the deepest possible relationship with Christ.

The Prayer

The three primary parts of the Jesus prayer that are worthy of consideration are the words, the technique, and the goal of the prayer. 

By understanding all three part. we can come to a deeper understanding of the spirituality of the Desert Fathers and a path to a deeper relationship with Christ.

Beginning with the words, the prayer is the entirety of the gospel in one line.

The prayer acknowledges our sinfulness, Christ's role as the Lord of our lives, and our need for His Mercy. The goal thus of repeating the Jesus prayer is to engrave upon the very heart of a person the truth of the Gospel.

Dealing next with the issue of the technique there are many different approaches to how one may engage with the Jesus Prayer.

Some practitioners find it helpful to tie the prayer to their breeding, inhaling to the first part of the prayer, and exhaling through the second.

Some find it better to repeat the prayer out loud over and over again. Most find helpful the use of a tool called a prayer rope. All practitioners, no matter their technique, seek ultimately to make the prayer a de facto part of how they live their lives. This would in its ideal form mean that a person always, no matter what they were doing throughout their day, would be repeating the Jesus prayer.

The final segment worthy of consideration when it comes to the issue of the Jesus Prayer is the issue of its goal. Through the Jesus prayer we dissolve away our sinfulness to the simple repetition of the prayer itself.

Through the Jesus Prayer, we seek a relationship with true Christ, where what we were is lost and replaced with a new man: this is the constant prayer of the heart described by Saint Paul in the Scriptures.

The goal of the Jesus prayer is intrinsically mystical and thus intrinsically impossible to explain. However this poor man's attempt is in short: the shaping of the cold stone of the human heart into a living beautiful statue through the simple repetition of the Gospel message.

It is for this reason that the Jesus Prayer is perfect for Lent. We seek through the process of Lent to leave behind our old selves and to embrace a deeper connection to Christ.

So join with the Desert Fathers. Undertake the practice of the Jesus Prayer. Reform who you are as a man. Leave the old man behind.


bottom of page