What is Jesus Prayer?

The Jesus Prayer is one of the oldest and at the same time one of the simplest forms of Christian meditation.
It is the so-called non-discursive form of prayer - the prayer of the heart.
Its tradition dates back to the period of the Desert Fathers in the 4th century.
It was born out of the search for unceasing prayer: how to reconcile continuous remaining in God's presence with daily activity?
In its "pure form" it consists in remaining silent before God in an act of faith, leaving only one word or one-sentence prayer formula repeated regularly, e.g. in the rhythm of the breath.
This is a prayer in which - as  John of the Cross writes: “a person likes to remain alone in loving awareness of God, without particular considerations, in interior peace and quiet and repose, and without the acts and exercises (at least discursive, those in which one progresses from point to point) of the intellect, memory and will. Such a one prefers to remain only in the general loving awareness and knowledge we mentioned, without any particular knowledge or understanding” (The Assent of Mount Carmel, Book II,13.4). Minimum words - maximum openness to God and His action.

 Meditation with Father Seraphim

When you meditate be as a mountain
motionlessly settled in silence.
Its thoughts are rooted in eternity.
Do nothing, just sit, just be
and you will learn the fruits of prayer.

When you meditate be as a flower,
always facing the sun.
Its stem like a spine, always straight.
Remain open, ready to accept everything without fear,
and the light will always shine on your path.

When you meditate be as an ocean,
in its depths always unmoved.
Its waves come and go.
Remain calm inside
and evil thoughts will go away.

When you meditate remember about the breath.
Thanks to it, the man became a living thing.
The breath comes from God and returns to God.
Unite the prayer word with the stream of life
and nothing shall separate you from the Giver of Life.

When you meditate be as a bird,
singing ceaselessly in front of the Creator.
Its song raises like incense smoke.
Let your prayer be like dove’s cooing
And you shall not surrender to discouragement.

When you meditate be as Abraham
sacrificing his only son.
It was a sign that he was ready to give up everything.
Give up everything
and in this abandonment God will fill you with His presence.

When you meditate it is Jesus
who prays inside you to the Father in the Spirit.
You are carried by the fire of His love.
Be as a river which serves everyone,
and the time will come when you become Love.

 © John Bereza OSB