How did I start using a prayer rope?
Amos Smith knew I often prayed the Jesus Prayer. Amos sent me a prayer rope. It was shipped from Greece. Let me share more information about a prayer rope by answering the below three questions.
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What is the Jesus Prayer?
The Jesus Prayer, also called the Prayer of the Heart, the Prayer of a Single Thought, or simply The Prayer, is a short, simple prayer that has been widely used, taught and discussed throughout the history of Eastern Christianity.
The exact words of the prayer have varied, from a simple form such as “Lord, have mercy” to an extended form:
“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner.”
I say. “Jesus, son of God have mercy on me or a persons name. Or a situation.”
What is a prayer rope?
In the Orthodox tradition the Jesus prayer is said or prayed repeatedly, often with the aid of a prayer rope.
Historically it typically had 100 knots, although prayer ropes with 300, 50, or 33 knots or, less commonly, 250 or 12 can also be found in use today. There is typically a knotted cross at one end, and a few beads at certain intervals between the knots. The purpose is to help us concentrate, not necessarily to count.
Its invention is attributed to St. Pachomius in the fourth century. He was a a desert father in Egypt.
How do I use the prayer rope?
I use it after centering prayer. I use it whenever I want to. I often carry it in my pocket or leave it in my car.
I hold it between my index finger and thumb of my right hand. I say, “Jesus, Son of God have mercy on _____ . In the blank I will say me, a person’s name or a situation. After each Jesus Prayer, I move to the next bead. I will repeat this prayer until I no longer have a name or situation in mind.
It is nice to pray and at the same time perform some type of action. This helps me focus on God. The purpose is not to finish the knots. The purpose is to pray. I like the combination of prayer and physical action.
I believe when I say this prayer, Jesus is present, guides me, walks with me or is with the other person or situation. Jesus is always present. Even when we forget or don’t feel like he is, Jesus is with us.
Clint Sabom wrote a nice piece on the Jesus Prayer: Using the Jesus Prayer In Daily Life: A Powerful Practice. It is very helpful if you do not have a prayer rope or want a different experience with this wonderful prayer.
Please enjoy this 1 minute video on the Jesus Prayer.
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I use a Prayer Rope after each Centering Prayer Sit.
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Since the time of the Desert Fathers in the third century, Finley begins, Christian mystics have practiced meditation as a way of opening to the direct presence of God in daily life. Legendary seekers such as Saint John of the Cross, Saint Teresa of Avila, and Meister Eckhart explored how meditation can lead us beyond the closed horizon of the ego, to an interior and holy refuge that is always available to us. On Christian Meditation, James Finley offers a gentle introduction to this all-transforming way of life, and the ever-deepening realization of oneness with Christ it leads us to. (Based upon his book, Christian Meditation.)
Check out my review of Christian Prayer Methods by Dr. Philip St. Romain.
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