The Jesus Prayer -Иисycoва молитва
Little meditative video made with, in Russian, -'The Jesus Prayer" or "Prayer of the Heart" which is -
"Lord, Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me a sinner"-
sung in pleading refrains here by the ~Russian Orthodox Nuns of the Monastery of St Elizabetha~, in Belarus
Поют сёстры монастыря Св. Елизаветы. Белорусия
'pray without ceasing' (1 Thessalonians 5.17)
Such prayer is that which the Fathers call the prayer of the heart, known so often in practice as the Jesus Prayer.
It was Paul, Apostle of Christ, who had instructed the faithful at Thessaloniki and throughout the world to 'pray without ceasing' (1 Thessalonians 5.17). Over a millennium later, a poor pilgrim on the Russian steppe wandered into a Sunday Liturgy and heard these words proclaimed. The command pierced him to the core. How does one pray without ceasing? If prayer is solely conversation or dialogue, as he had long understood it to be, how could it be possible to engage in such an activity at all times, through all the events of daily life and social interaction?
The pilgrim's story is told in the classic work of Russian folk lore, The Way of the Pilgrim. His engagement in finding an answer to this question brought him to the discovery of the Philokalia, a key compendium of Orthodox spirituality and prayer. With the Scriptures and this collected text in hand, he placed himself under the guidance of an experienced elder and engaged in a struggle to develop inner prayer that would occupy the whole of his life.
Engaging in inner prayer is a task to which every Christian is called. Paul's command to pray without ceasing applies to each Christian today, as much as it did to those in the Church at Thessaloniki. We are called to intimate communion with the Creator of Life, such that there be no moment when our souls and bodies are not enlightened by Him. It was St Evagrius of Pontus who wrote that 'prayer is the communion of the intellect with God', and it becomes our task to transform our prayer from mere words, mere petitions, to the direct communion of the depths of our hearts and beings with God Himself.
One of the greatest tools by which the Church has encouraged this transformation in the individual prayers of its faithful has been through use of the Jesus Prayer. Its formula is simple: 'Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner', yet this short phrase is not meant to be an end in itself, but rather a tool for a changed life of prayer. Its repetition, frequent and regular, causes the mind and heart to become accustomed to the continual outcry to God, until, in God's good time, one's whole being begins to realize its intimate proximity to God at every moment.