The Jesus Prayer discovered me to be a liar, but is turning me into an honest man.
It is repetitious, but it isn’t vain, for by it I have observed my inner self transforming.
Yet at first, when I uttered the prayer, it amounted to something like this: “la de da-da, ya da-da, la de da-da-da, la de-da.”
Such was the superficiality of my inner life, and my lack of mental focus.
“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me a sinner.”
Can there be anything more beneficial, for a Christian, than to keep our mind continually on Christ Jesus?
There isn’t a simpler or better tool, for a Christian to use, than the Jesus Prayer, as he works to forge the purity of his soul and follow the commands of his Lord.
Every master craftsman, or expert in any trade, has a particular tool they most love to use, the tool they turn to in all circumstances, the one they’ve come to trust, and can rely on as they accomplish their task.
The Jesus Prayer can be that special tool, which every master Christian holds dear and close to their heart, as they do their inner work.
Don’t ask me how, but the Prayer, when done with sincerity and with perseverance, begins to reveal ourselves as we truly are, and we discover that we aren’t what we thought we were.
For instance; I’m actually a sinner. I hadn’t realized this, but rather, believed I was basically a good person who happened to sin now and then. But that isn’t the same thing at all. Rather than sinning on occasion, I am steeped in it, and sadly, sin has come to define me. I am a sinner.
The prayer revealed this to me. As I repeated it throughout the day, the words sunk in and I began to hear them, then understand them, and finally the reality of them took hold of me.
“Lord Jesus Christ”…He is my Lord…Yet I do not live as His subject…Though I should…I live for myself…I live as a sinner. But the prayer is reminding me all the time to live as His subject. This is a blessing.
“Son of God”…this is not just any Lord…this is our Creator…this truth, obviously, demands our complete awe and obedience…but I have lived indifferently and apathetically…truly I am a sinner! I am beginning to see myself as I truly am…and the truth will set us free. I have hope!
“Have mercy on me, a sinner”…yes, truly I am one who needs mercy…my self-righteousness is not true righteousness…I am not God, but I am truly a creature…I am at God’s mercy in this life and in the life to come…in Him I have my being…I am not self-made but rather completely dependent for my existence…and I am a sinner, this is clearly evident to me now as I see how I live my life. Lord have mercy!
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.