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Prayer for the Indwelling of the Spirit

Holy Spirit, powerful Consoler, sacred Bond of the Father and the Son, Hope of the afflicted, descend into my heart and establish in it Your loving dominion. Enkindle in my tepid soul the fire of Your Love so that I may be wholly subject to You. We believe that when you dwell in us, You also prepare a dwelling for the Father and the Son. Deign, therefore, to come to me, Consoler of abandoned souls, and Protector of the needy. Help the afflicted, strengthen the weak, and support the wavering. Come and purify me, Let no evil desire take possession of me. You love the humble and resist the proud. Come to me, Glory of the living, and Hope of the dying. Lead me by Your grace that I may always be pleasing to you. Amen.



The Jesus Prayer

 

The purpose of this brief article is merely to introduce the reader to the practice of the Jesus Prayer or the prayer of the heart.

Prayer is the center of our Christian being, the root of our experience of Jesus as the Risen Lord and Savior. Saint Paul insists the Christians of first century Thessalonica to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).  And in his letter to Rome, the Apostle teaches the Christian community there to “be constant in prayer” (Romans 12:12).  He not only advices unceasing prayer of the Christians in his care, but does it himself. “We constantly thank God for you” (1 Thessalonians. 2:13) he pens in his letter to the Thessalonian community; and he comforts Timothy, his “true child in the faith” (1Timothy 1:2) with the words: “Always I remember you in my prayers” (2 Timothy 1:3).

Prayer is all of life. Prayer is as essential to our life as breathing. To a certain extent, pray means to think and live our entire life in the Presence of God. A Russian and French theologian, writer, and professor of theology Paul Evdokimov has observed: “Our whole life, every act and gesture, even a smile must become a hymn or adoration, an offering, a prayer. We must become prayer-prayer incarnate.” This is what Saint Paul means when he writes to the Corinthians that “whatever you do, do it for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

In order to enter more deeply into the life of prayer, to live our entire life in the Presence of God, and to come to grips with Saint Paul’s challenge to pray unceasingly, the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic churches offers the Jesus Prayer, which is sometimes called the prayer of the heart.The anonymous author of The Way of the Pilgrim reports that the Jesus Prayer writes: “When I prayed in my heart, everything around me seemed delightful and marvelous. The trees, the grass, the birds, the air, the light seemed to be telling me that they existed for man’s sake, that they witnessed to the love of God for man, that all things prayed to God and sang his praise.”
 

The Jesus Prayer is offered as a means of concentration, as a focal point for our inner life. The most frequently used form of the Jesus Prayer is: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” It can be used for worship, petition, intercession, invocation, adoration, and thanksgiving.

Greek Orthodox Christians, in particular, use a “prayer rope”, a knotted cord of 33, 50, or 100 knots.  Many Roman Catholics use a traditional Rosary praying the Jesus Prayer in place of the Rosary prayers.  Anglicans and others who are not Orthodox or Roman Catholic use a form known as “Anglican Prayer Beads” or the Anglican Rosary.   

Anthony DeMello, S.J. in his book Contact With God says, “I don’t know why it is, but the fingering of beads brings to many people peace and prayerfulness; it is probably because it brings rhythm into the prayer.”  

Growth in prayer has no end,” Russian Orthodox Saint Theophan the Recluse informs us. “If this growth ceases, it means that life ceases.” The way of the heart is infinite because the God whom we seek is infinite in the depths of his glory. The Jesus Prayer is a road sign along the spiritual journey, a journey that all of us must take.



Trust in The Lord

 

 
 
It’s simple. It’s short. Yet it’s incredibly powerful. Proverbs 3:5-6 is one of the most familiar passages in the Bible–with good reason. It sets forth a life-changing truth that is worthy of our attention. Spend three minutes reading this article, and see if you agree. Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Trust in the Lord.

It starts with trust. Any real relationship has to start with some level of trust. It’s the only way a friendship will endure. It’s the only way a marriage will work out. It’s the simple reason why an employer hires workers, or why the workers stay employed. It’s all about trust. Trust in the Lord, however, takes on an entirely new dimension. This is our trust in an eternal, all-powerful, all-wise, all-loving God. He is worthy of our trust. The trust is important, not just because of who God is, but because of the way in which we must trust him: with all your heart. It involves every fiber of your being. That’s the kind of trust we can have in God–a complete, unshakable, deep, abiding trust.   Read part 2, Don’t Lean On Your Understanding



Do Not Lean on Your Own Understanding

 
 
Read part 1 first, Trust In The Lord. Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.  

Don’t Lean on Your Understanding

The verse involves a positive–something you must do. But it also involves a negative–something you must not do. Don’t lean on your own understanding. Basically, the verse is telling us that we ought not to be self-reliant. We cannot pursue a course of action, a financial decision, a business move, a relationship, or an educational choice, simply based on our own understanding. It must be founded in our trust in God. Self-reliance is such a deceptive trap. We begin to pride ourselves in something–our savvy, our looks, our intellect, our spirituality, our family, whatever. And when we do, it takes away our trust in the Lord. It has become trust in self. The result is a dangerous compromise that will lead to destruction.


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