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Author Topic: Why is the Jesus Prayer so hard??  (Read 1641 times) Average Rating: 0
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Timon
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« on: October 18, 2011, 11:50:40 AM »

When I first found out about this prayer, I thought "Oh, thats nice! A short simple prayer that I can pray whenever I want.  Its easy to remember too!  Man, this Orthodox stuff isnt as complicated as I thought it would be!"

This is probably the most difficult prayer I have ever prayed.  Maybe its the repetitiveness... The icons, candles, prayer corner, incense, and prayer rule have all benefited my prayer life tremendously.  But this prayer is still a challenge. 

Does anyone have any advice?  Should I just keep going at it?  And I did have a priest tell me to use this prayer.

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Andrew Crook
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« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2011, 12:15:34 PM »

You should just keep going at it..

  I would ask myself, is there any specific way to do it?  I just try to say the Jesus prayer whenever I can remember to.. just driving in my car and bam "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me"..  or if I'm having trouble falling to sleep..

Somehow I always feel better, and the weight of whatever I was carrying goes away.  However, this is not always the case.. sometimes it feels like my spirit can't breathe so maybe when that happens I just need to say it more. 
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« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2011, 12:36:08 PM »

It's difficult because there's nothing else there. If your heart's not really in it, if you don't mean what you say, you feel the emptiness of it immediately. When you read from a prayer book, pray with your own words, or chant a hymn you can focus on the words, and your mind can wonder freely without you really noticing because your mouth is doing all the hard work. That doesn't work with the Jesus Prayer - it's true prayer or nothing.

As a monk at Troodotissa monastery recently told me: "with quantity comes quality". Keep going.
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« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2011, 12:37:24 PM »

Quote
Does anyone have any advice?  Should I just keep going at it?  And I did have a priest tell me to use this prayer.

Keep going at it.

I love what this prayer does. The idea is to have this prayer be in your heart. First it will be in your head,  then in your breath, but in time, it will be in your heart.  Then it will come from your heart. Don’t give up.  Don’t get discouraged if you feel that gladness in you, and then can’t seem to repeat it. Just take it slow, there is no deadline.
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« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2011, 08:06:00 PM »

I struggled with this little prayer too.   

Watching a DVD called "Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer"  really helped me.   Seeing various cultures using the same simple prayer in different languages and countries.
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« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2011, 08:19:15 PM »

I have also had trouble with this prayer. It shows me my own laziness.
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« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2011, 08:31:25 PM »

Join the club!


If we could attain that perfect state of oneness with God through the prayer, on the first try, we wouldn't need God. Keep pushing with it. Authors of books about the Jesus Prayer talk about struggling with the prayer, and they've done it for years.

Just keep pushing on!  Smiley
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« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2011, 08:35:04 PM »

The Jesus Prayer, as simple as it seems, takes a great deal of focus and contemplation.  I was told that I should not even attempt the Jesus Prayer until I have matured a little more in the faith.  It requires patience and zeal in perfect harmony and to strive for such a balance may take a lifetime if ever.  Make sure you have talked with your priest before trying to incorporate this into your daily spiritual life.
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« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2011, 09:22:54 PM »

Should I just keep going at it?

Yes.
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« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2011, 11:08:30 PM »

I am sure not only is it ourselves that get in the way, but those present you cannot see also would like you to stop and give up. 
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« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2011, 01:06:11 AM »

Someone mentioned laziness, and it certainly points out mine.  Im hate to say it, but sometimes i dont look forward to sitting still for ten minutes saying the same thing over and over!  ten minutes isnt even that long, but its what I was instructed to do.  i have a rough time sitting still for longer than 30 seconds... ha!
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« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2011, 02:09:16 AM »

Someone mentioned laziness, and it certainly points out mine.  Im hate to say it, but sometimes i dont look forward to sitting still for ten minutes saying the same thing over and over!  ten minutes isnt even that long, but its what I was instructed to do.  i have a rough time sitting still for longer than 30 seconds... ha!

selam dear
so you are starting to meet yourself, the self you were not aware of, this prayer will make you aware, this is just the beginning of the warfare, the first encounter is with self and it is not a delightful experience, and I am personally horrified by what I am seeing. yet the Lord is merciful His Love will heal and sustain you. keep at it,obedience is a wonder maker, do not go beyond or below what was given to you, but while saying it, may be focus on the sweetness of the name, it might help with the despair. may the Lord aid us all in this. amen.
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« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2011, 08:50:52 PM »

It's not just setting a time and a time limit to "say" it. It's time alone to commune with our Lord! Are you not listening, too? I'd recently read that another way of praying the prayer is to do so very slowly, and listen between the words, without expectation.
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« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2011, 12:59:29 AM »

It's not just setting a time and a time limit to "say" it. It's time alone to commune with our Lord! Are you not listening, too? I'd recently read that another way of praying the prayer is to do so very slowly, and listen between the words, without expectation.

Actually, I do listen.  Honestly, I dont set a stop watch and quit after 10 minutes.  10 minutes is just what a priest suggested i do.  I dont think the time is really the main point.  It just helps having an idea of what I am going to say when I go to commune with our Lord.  But dont worry.  I believe that silence is very important and I do make an effort to listen...
« Last Edit: October 21, 2011, 01:00:19 AM by Timon » Logged

Even if we have thousands of acts of great virtue to our credit, our confidence in being heard must be based on God's mercy and His love for men. Even if we stand at the very summit of virtue, it is by mercy that we shall be saved.

— Chrysostom

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