The Jesus Prayer and Prayer on the Rosary
Down through the ages and to our own day our spiritual tradition has transmitted the experience of a profound and yet simple prayer. It consists in a continual repetition of the words, “Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” It is called the Jesus Prayer because of the continual invocation of the name of Jesus Christ. The practice of the Jesus Prayer aims at rooting within us, within our heart, a continual and vivid consciousness of God’s presence.
The Jesus Prayer is recited on a prayer cord (the Ukrainian vervytsia comes from the Slavonic verv meaning a cord), which frequently comprises a circle of one hundred knots for a hundredfold repetition of the words, “Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” The Jesus Prayer on the prayer cord begins, as do the Daily Prayers, with the Usual Beginning (Heavenly King, the Thrice-Holy Hymn, Most Holy Trinity, Our Father) up to and including the Creed. After this beginning, we start the first hundred prayers (or century). One may recite a single century, or two or more. Every century concludes with the hymn to the Mother of God, “It is truly right to bless you, O Godbearing one.” The subsequent century begins with “Come, let us bow in worship.” However, the number of repetitions is not an aim in itself; it is a means to implant in the heart an awareness of the Saviour’s presence.
A Lecture on the Jesus Prayer with Fr. Michael Winn
Together with the Jesus Prayer, some in our Church also pray the Marian Rosary. The Rosary, or Psalter of the Most Pure Virgin Mary is a pious form of prayer to God, easy and accessible to all. It consists in extolling the most holy Mother of God through the repetition of the prayer “Rejoice, Mother of God, Virgin Mary” 150 times. This is the number of the Psalms of David. Within these 150 prayers, every decade is measured off by the “Our Father” and by appropriate meditations on the life of our Lord Jesus Christ (or mysteries).453 The Roman Pontiff Saint John Paul II added to the traditional fifteen mysteries of the Rosary five more Luminous Mysteries.
The Jesus Prayer
Lord Jesus Christ,
Son of God
Have mercy on me a sinner
Господи, Ісусе Христе,
Помилуй мене, грішнy/грішного
Jesus Prayer in Ukrainian – Harmony
Jesus Prayer – Sung – English/Unison
Jesus Prayer – Sung – English/Harmony
The Jesus Prayer: A Prayer for the Weak during the Week
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?
- This is a time of repentance. This situation around the world which has caused us to isolate ourselves, reminds 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Fr Michael Bombak – “The Name above all names: Living the Jesus Prayer in the Modern World”
Fr. Michael Bombak is a graduate of the Metropolitan Shepytysky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies. He was ordained to the Holy Priesthood on January 1, 2016, and completed his Master of Theology through Newman Theological College in 2020. Over the last three years Fr. Michael has developed a series of Jesus Prayer challenges—Jesus Prayer 33 and 100— to teach and deepen the practice of this beautiful treasure of the Church. Fr. Michael is the pastor of St. Stephen Protomartyr Ukrainian Catholic parish in Calgary, Alberta, where he lives with his wife Kimberly and their five children. Certainly one of the most famous prayers of the Eastern Christian tradition is “Jesus Prayer” or “The Prayer of the Heart.” So central is this prayer to the identity and common piety of Eastern Christians that it is sometimes simply referred to as “the Prayer.” Over the course of this Study Day weekend some important questions will be addressed: What is the pedigree and tradition of this prayer? How has it been practiced throughout the centuries? And most importantly, why is this prayer of such significance to us in our contemporary time? Whether you are new to this beautiful prayer or have made its practice central to your prayer rule, there will be some important “take aways” to deepen your prayer over this conference.