One day the Pilgrim met a monk who introduced him to some insightful words from Symeon the New Theologian (AD 949-1022): “Sit down alone and in silence. Lower your head, shut your eyes, breathe out gently and imagine yourself looking into your own heart. Carry your mind (thoughts) from your head to your heart. As you breathe out say: ‘Lord Jesus, have mercy on me.’ Say it moving your lips gently … Try to put all other thoughts aside. Be calm, be patient and repeat the process very frequently.”
Our nameless Russian Pilgrim did just as Symeon suggested. He found that he was praying this prayer hundreds of times a day. Under its guidance he found that he could pray without ceasing to Jesus and discovered shalom filling his life and soul. Soon the prayer was even invading his dreams! As he met people on his journey they became “as dear to me as if they had been my nearest relations.”
The Jesus Prayer transformed the Pilgrim’s relationship with the world around him. Every thing became instruments of God’s presence in his life. Even those who sought to do harm to the Pilgrim the prayer transformed his way of looking at them. “If anyone harms me I have only to think, “How sweet is the Prayer of Jesus’ and the injury and the anger alike pass away and I forget it all.”
I discovered the Jesus Prayer not long after a tumultuous time in my life or about 2001
The Jesus Prayer is not all there is to prayer. However, it is one spiritual discipline that can be practiced anytime, anywhere, under any circumstance. It is an invitation to pray without ceasing and in constant awareness that if God, in his Christ, ceased even for a single moment to merciful to me … I would cease to be!
Thank you nameless Pilgrim for your journey that continues to bless those who follow you on the same path. “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me.”