The Jesus Prayer is one of the oldest prayers in Christianity. The mantralike repetition of 'Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner' develops into a peaceful rhythm so that the one who prays can absorb its truth at different levels and learn to be still in the presence of God, rather than focus on feelings or thoughts about God.
Frederica Mathewes-Green's comprehensive book is a spiritual jewel for anyone who yearns for a real and continuous presence with Christ. She illuminates the history, theology, and spirituality of Orthodoxy, so that the Prayer can be understood in its native context, and provides practical steps for making it a part of our being.
`The Jesus Prayer has historically been passed on face-to-face, from one Christ-loving person to the next, down the generations ever since the desert saints. It is learned in a community of fellow-believers, all of whom are aware of their need and sin, trying daily to resist temptation better and love God more. As you form the habit of saying this prayer in the back of your mind all the time, it soaks into you, like dye into cotton, and colors the way you encounter every person and circumstance you meet...'