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

The Jesus Prayer, also know as “The Prayer of the Heart” is an ancient and beautiful prayer of the Christian East. Repeated many times consecutively, it is a prayer that allows us to stand in the presence of the Lord, focusing on Him and asking for His mercy. This prayer has been an incredible guide for many people as they come to know the Lord and a true weapon for engaging in spiritual combat.   

Why the Jesus Prayer particularly?

There are all sorts of prayers, what makes the Jesus prayer so special at this time?

  1. This is a time of repentance. This Covid-19 situation around the world which has caused us to isolate ourselves, essentially close down public worship and reminded us of the temporality and fragility of our earthly life, must be understood by Christians not as a “random” occurrence but as a “wake up call” by the Lord to repent. These first words of the Lord’s public ministry (Mark 1:15) should never be far from a Christian’s heart, but even more so during the present time. The Jesus prayer is a prayer of repentance, a “turning back” to the Lord.  

 

  1. We need the Lord now more than ever. Into the current uncertainty and fear, we are tempted to pour many “comfort measures.” The global situation has very quickly shown us the illusion of our assumed security. Our strength as Christians always rests in the name of the Lord and His strength! When we are tempted to turn to other supports, we need a reminder that Christ is the Victor and the one who saves. The Jesus prayer is a prayer of constantly calling upon the name of Jesus, surrendering to Him, and deepening our relationship with Him.

 

  1. We need spiritual peace now more than ever. Social media, though very powerful and necessary at this time, still has a “disembodying” and exhausting effect on our minds and hearts. We will be using social media more, but we must be on guard in our hearts not to let these forms of communication replace “communication” with “connection” and disintegrate or dissipate our zeal. The Jesus prayer teaches us to “watch our thoughts,” recognize temptations and trains us to focus on the Lord, even amidst distractions.  

What’s the Challenge?

40 people, 33 Jesus Prayers a day for 40 days.

  1. Thank the Lord for putting it in your heart to answer this deeper call to prayer.
  2. To sign up for the closed Facebook group email Melanie at: [email protected] this will allow us to organize the group and give you regular catechesis on this amazing prayer.
  3. Every week from Aug 1st to Sept 9th pray 33 Jesus Prayers slowly, focusing on all the words. Post a short reflection in the Facebook Group timeline at the end of the week corresponding to the week’s theme- these will be presented in the Facebook group.
  4. In your post mention something about the Jesus prayer and #JesusPrayer33, tag the Facebook group, FrMike Bombak, and/or Warren Francis Dungen and Mykhailo Ozorovych. You may post more than weekly if you so choose.
  5. Participate in the weekly ZOOM meeting to the best of your ability. Participate in the additional optional weekly challenges to the best of your ability.
  6. We are here to help and guide you. Within the challenge, you will meet fellow pilgrims walking this same path of the prayer, and Frs. Mike, Mykhailo, and Warren are here to help guide you as well. Reach out, we are here to help!

Why take this Challenge in the first place?

Through this challenge, you will develop a habit of praying the Jesus Prayer daily. This practice will deepen your relationship with the Lord and change your life forever. Through your weekly pictures/reflections, you will fill cyberspace with an awareness of this amazing prayer and encourage your fellow participants. Finally, while you are praying the Jesus Prayer, we will be praying for you and preparing a traditional 33 knot Jesus Prayer rope (chotki) to be mailed out to you upon the completion of the 40 challenge days. We pray that this gift will be close at hand as you continue the habit of this beautiful prayer for the rest of your life!  

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. Do I need to be on Facebook to take this challenge?

Yes. This is a Facebook outreach and this platform allows us to establish a “cohort” of fellow pilgrims on the journey. If you need help setting up a Facebook account we would be more than willing to help you!

  1. Can I participate without sharing a weekly reflection?

Nope. The picture/reflection serves the purpose of a) helping to keep you focused and committed on the habit of prayer b) deepening your own experience and c) helping others along their journey. Without sharing, your experience of the challenge would suffer.  

We hope that you will join us in this challenge, and we pray that through it we may truly “live a life of peace and repentance” during this pandemic and well after. Glory be to Jesus Christ! Glory be forever!