On each seventh day during Advent we invite you to take a Sabbath day and learn more about a spiritual discipline.
The Jesus Prayer
From Simply Wait: The Jesus Prayer, often called a prayer of the heart, is an ancient practice and it is best used through patient repetition. Traditionally, it is known as "Lord, have mercy" or in its longest form "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me, a sinner." The heart of the prayer is not revealed in its history or in any particular combination of words prayed; the heart of the prayer is revealed through its patient praying.
The Jesus Prayer speaks to the heart of our need before God. It hides behind nothing and represents everything that we are before God. Short and to-the-point, it comes to life in us not through wordy, complicated construction but through patient, repeated simplicity.
This is a prayer tht you can do sitting still or when you are standing, walking, driving, digging, cleaning, or whatever other activity you are engaged in. This prayer may be best suited to the action-packed ways of our culture, especially of our pre-Christmas way of life. So for this prayer you do not need to carve out or leave behind any tasks in your schedule but rather plan to use the Jesus Prayer in the midst of your busy routine.
First, choose the wording that attracts you, although you can change to another form at any time. You might want to use "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me" or "Jesus Christ, have mercy" or "Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner." Once you have the wording, simply say it right away in five slow-paced repetitions or until you get a feel for the prayer's rhythm. Now choose an activity or daily practice already in your schedule at least twice a day. This can be something like brushing your teeth, sitting at a red light, doing the dishes, or walking the dog. Each time you engage in this activity say the Jesus Prayer five times again. Try it for a few days. As you get used to it you may want to expand your repetitions to ten or experiment with other daily activities where you could add this practice.
*This devotional was inspired by and written using Simply Wait: Cultivating Stillness in the Season of Advent by Pamela C. Hawkins. The Clarity Youth Ministry is grateful to have this incredible resource and encourage you to buy your own copy of the book to further your Advent study, which you can do by clicking this link.