Friday, November 30, 2012

Praying Yourself to Sleep With the Jesus Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner

A practice I started recently was after I get in bed at night is to pray the Jesus prayer about 20-25 times (I am not legalistic on how many times). I pray for and meditate on Christ mercy and forgiveness of my sins. I rest in the fact he will forgive my sins (1 John 1:9) and deliver me from evil thoughts and temptations (Matthew 6:13)  

I find it.

1. Reminds me that Jesus is with me while I sleep.

2. Cleanses my mind of evil thoughts to focusing on Jesus. 
3. Helps me to relax. 

Try praying "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner" as you prepare for sleep tonight. 

Psalm 63:6-7  ... I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches  Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Ways to Pray the Jesus Prayer part 1

The Jesus Prayer is a great prayer to pray for yourself as well as a great form of Christian meditation. Praying it 20 times, 50 times or 100 times without ceasing (Which I like to do) is a great form of contemplative prayer.  How do we do this without it becoming vain repetition?

 One way in which I  pray the Jesus Prayer (Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner) is  I focus on each individual word (or phrase)  in the prayer as I pray it.

I first emphasize the word "Lord" as I pray the complete prayer. I may do this 5 times or more as I begin the prayer. I meditate on the fact that the one I am praying for mercy  to is LORD and has always been LORD and always will be. He is Master and Lord of the Universe.  He is God the Son.

The Apostle Paul stated in Col 1:14-18
14  In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: 15  Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 16  For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him 17  And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. 

I next emphasize "Jesus" which reminds me of His humanity. The Lord of Glory took on human flesh.  He did not pretend to be a man but is 100% man.  The name Jesus means "Yahweh is salvation" The eternal God took on human flesh to be my Savior. I am praying to the one who took on human flesh to purchase my salvation and asking for His mercy. He died in the flesh on a cross for sinners and purchased salvation for all who believe.

John 1:14 

    And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. 

 I may do this 5 times or more and then I will emphasize the first two words "Lord Jesus"  5  times or more as I pray the entire prayer. The Lord of Creation who took on human flesh and died for sinners is the source of my prayer.

I will then began to emphasize "Christ" in the prayer about 5 or more times. Christ or Messiah means that He is the anointed one who fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies. Jesus is the one whom the prophets prophesied of.  

 Jesus himself declared, 

Luke 24:44  And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. 

I  will  then emphasize the phrase "Lord Jesus Christ" as I pray the entire prayer 5 or more times.  I think on the Lord of Creation who took on human flesh and was crucified for the salvation of sinners is the promised Messiah of the prophets. It is He whom I am asking for mercy.

I next will emphasize the phrase "Son of God" about 5 times or more. He is God in the flesh that I am praying for mercy. The Apostle Paul  stated,  And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: (Rom 1:4)  I do not pray to a dead man but one who defeated death and the resurrection declares Jesus to be the Son of God (God in the flesh!). 

Next in the prayer I will emphasize the phrase  "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God"  5 or more times meditating on the entire person of Jesus each time as the one I am asking for mercy from. 

In the prayer next I  will dwell on the phrase "have mercy" about 5 times or more. Mercy means show compassion, or deliver from harm, or danger. These 2 words are the heart of the supplication I am making. I may be asking for mercy on a situation I am dealing with, or a problem or sickness I am facing or a sin I am struggling with. I need His mercy! The 10 lepers remind us of this in Luke 17:13  And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. 

I then place emphasis on the words  "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy"  5 or more times, meditating on the entire person of Jesus.  Each time I am asking for mercy from and thinking and praying silently for the need I am asking for His help on. 

As I continue the prayer, I will next emphasize the two words "on me" about 5 or more times. I am the one in need of mercy. I cannot make it alone but I am solely dependent upon God's mercy in my life. 

The Psalmist reminds me The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy. -  Psalm 147:11 

I will again emphasize the previous words 5 or more times in the prayer "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me"  mediating on His mercy as well as praying for his mercy on either one situation or a variety of issues. 

The final words I place emphasis on is "a sinner" 5 or more times. I am a sinner by nature. Original sin dwells in me and wages war on my soul. My sin nature is the enemy within me that needs to be crushed. I need the mercy of Jesus because of my sins. I am asking for the forgiveness of sin as well as the help of God to overcome my sins. 

I am reminded of the tax collector''s prayer in the Temple.
And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. - Luke 18:13  

I conclude the prayer by emphasizing all the words  "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner" 5 or more times.

I may then say a short prayer for a need I have or praise God for his mercy. 

The Church father,  John Chrysostom said regarding the Jesus Prayer, 

"...constantly call: “Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me!” in order that this remembrance of the Name of our Lord Jesus should incite you to battle with the enemy. By this remembrance, a soul forcing itself to do this practice can discover everything which is within, both good and bad. First, it will see within, in the heart, what is bad, and later — what is good. This remembrance is for rousing the serpent, and the remembrance is for subduing it. This remembrance can reveal the sin living in us, and this remembrance can destroy it. This remembrance can arouse all the enemy hosts in the heart, and little by little this remembrance can conquer and uproot them."


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Praying the Jesus Prayer With the Psalms

In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, one God. Amen.

 O Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, the Living and Eternal Son of God, have mercy and enlighten our minds to understand Your life-giving words. 

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me and grant my requests. 

Meditate and reflect on the  Psalm and pray for others and yourself.

All hail, adorèd Trinity; All hail, eternal Unity;
O God the Father, God the Son, And God the Spirit, ever One. Amen

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Jesus Prayer and the Black Hole of Sin

The Jesus Prayer is one of the most rewarding and difficult prayers to pray. There are different variations of the prayer but the most common is, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner."

The constant repetition of this prayer is a great meditation or reflection on Jesus Christ and the  the mercy of God. The other night I spent about 15 minutes praying this prayer.

As I focused my mind on the words of the prayer I realized that I must cling to Jesus Christ and Him alone for victory over  sin. Our sins are like a giant black hole of spiritual death that are seeking to consume and destroy us.  By the mercy and grace of God we can conquer this monster. By His mercy I am forgiven and cleansed of sin. If however I am lax in my spiritual life and reflect, enjoy,  think and indulge in the sins of this world then this black hole of sin will corrupt and destroy me. 

The Apostle Paul declared,

Romans 8:13  For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 

The fleshly nature must be put to death. If we feed the flesh with the things of this world by focusing and thinking on this worlds pleasures and sins then sin like a spiritual black hole will consume us in time. If we reflect and meditate upon Jesus Christ as one does in the Jesus Prayer then we curb the feeding of the flesh. The prayer becomes both a meditation upon Jesus Christ and a cry of forgiveness and of mercy to cleanse us of our sins.

John Chrystotom stated regarding the Jesus prayer ,

The Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, descending into the depths of the heart, will subdue the serpent holding sway over the pastures of the heart, and will save our soul and bring it to life. Thus abide constantly with the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, so that the heart swallows the Lord and the Lord the heart, and the two become one.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Prayer For Hurricane Isaac

We worship You O Christ with Your Good Father and the Holy Spirit, for You have come and saved us.

 Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us! 

That it may please You to support, help, and comfort all who are in danger as Hurricane Isaac approaches - Good Lord, deliver us! 

From hurricane force winds, flood waters and tornadoes - Good Lord, deliver us!

 From lightning and thunderstorms - Good Lord, deliver us!

 O Lord Jesus, please let Your mercy be shown upon the Gulf Coast and convict us to repent of our many sins. 

 Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever and unto the ages of all ages. Amen.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

How To Be Prepared for Sunday Church

How do you prepare for Church on Sunday? Do you pray before Church? What about when you go to Church on Sunday? What is your attitude? 

The Russian church father, St. Seraphim of Sarov stated this should be our attitude: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner": let all thine attention and training be in this. Walking, sitting, doing, and standing in church before the divine service, coming in and going out, keep this unceasingly on thy lips and in thy heart."

How much better prepared for church we would be if we followed this simple advice. His advice is not new. Jesus told a parable of two men who went to the Temple and shows us the wrong way to go to God's house and the right way.

Luke 18:10  Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.  I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.