Sunday, September 17, 2023

Met Ephrem (Kyriakos) on the Jesus Prayer

Arabic original here.

The Jesus Prayer

"Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full" (John 16:23-24).

In the Bible, the name is seen and experienced as the presence of God Himself. The name holds a twofold power: on the one hand, feeling the living God , and on the other, knowing Him.

Jesus' name indicates the incarnation:

Before all else, the name 'Jesus' indicates the reason for God's coming in the flesh for our salvation. By taking on our nature, God shows that it is possible for us to also become sons of God. The name 'Jesus' means 'God is the Savior'.

God said to Moses that His name is 'I Am': great is the name of the Holy Trinity.

Jesus is the God-Man. He brings both together in His person and through Him it became possible for us to reach the Father.

Can man ask for anything more than that?

When the personal God, I Am, is revealed to us, the fundamental difference between Him and various deviations like yoga, Buddhism and even Transcendental Meditation, is revealed.

Of course, when our minds are turned away from every image, it is possible for meditation to grant us a sense of rest, peace and liberation from time and place.

But there is no sense of standing before a personal god.

This can lead to a state where the person who practices meditation comes to be content with the psychological results of such experiences.

In this way it turns one away from the living God in order to focus on that "nothingness".

The hesychastic technical method:

The one praying tries, by repeating Jesus' name, to connect the intellect to the heart.

This is after he has already focused on conforming his daily life to Christ's commandments.

The one praying takes an appropriate bodily posture, reciting the prayer while his head is bent towards his chest, taking a breath at the words "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God," and exhaling at the words "have mercy on me a sinner."

In this way, he can keep his focus from wandering.

This method makes it possible for the one praying to keep his attention focused on the heart without resorting to psychosomatic methods.

Nevertheless, it is not possible to acquire true prayer through this technique because this only comes through faith and repentance.

The important thing is that we focus our attention on the name of Jesus Christ and on the words of the prayer.

When you feel the pain of sin crying out, the intellect naturally turns to the heart.

The full form of the Jesus Prayer is, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner."

Finally, when prayer becomes an automatic movement, it becomes fixed in the heart without any effort.

After the mind has become focused and at rest, prayer brings blessings. It comes like a delicate flame within us, like inspiration from the Most High, like joy in the heart with a feeling of divine love, delighting the intellect with spiritual contemplation.


Metropolitan of Tripoli, al-Koura and their Dependencies

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