Lately, I have been on a bit of an emotional roller-coaster. I won’t go in to all of my stressors (you didn’t sign-up for that, right?). But I will share something that is helping.
I have returned to a prayer I learned years ago while wandering around Greece as a college student. It’s called “The Jesus Prayer.”
It goes like this: “Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” The words aren’t exactly the same, but they are quite similar to what a blind beggar calls out to Jesus in Luke 18.35-42.
That’s it. Twelve words. The Jesus Prayer is meant to be a repeated prayer. In fact, it’s meant to be a prayer that becomes as natural as our heart beat. I have taken to praying it on my walks in the evening. The beauty of this little prayer is captured very well by an Eastern Orthodox archbishop, Anthony Bloom. “The Jesus Prayer aims at bringing us to stand in God’s presence with no other thought but the miracle of our standing there and God with us.” To put it in more humble terms, I find praying the Jesus Prayer invites me to stop focusing on all my smaller problems and instead bring my greatest need, for mercy, to the only one who can satisfy it, Jesus. That is a very good place to spend time, especially when life is swirling around us.
Now, I realize, your mileage may vary with this sort of repeated, simple prayer. And I will be the first to say that it is not meant to replace praying to God in our own words and speaking of our specific needs and thanksgivings to Him. But that said, I have found these twelve words a great tool, and comfort in times when I know I need to turn to God, but do not know what to say, or how to say it on my own.