The Jesus prayer is “Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me.” That’s it. One sentence. The long version is “Lord Jesus Christ, son of David, have mercy on me.” This prayer is meant to be repeated without ceasing day in and day out. Eventually, the prayer says itself. I knew a monk who recorded himself saying the prayer and then listened to himself using headphones while he mowed the lawn at the monastery. After ten years, he said the prayer would be in his head when he woke up.
It’s hard to imagine being able to pray without ceasing. We would have to be like the monk and devote our lives to it. I try to say the prayer as often as possible. It raises my level of awareness about being in God’s presence and needing mercy. We humans need mercy. We need it from God and we need it from each other.
I find asking for mercy makes me more merciful. I think of all the stories about Jesus being merciful, about how he was in the world, and I’m grateful that we have this human expression of God’s love to hang on to. It gives me hope that we can work toward a more loving world.
This Jesus prayer should come with a warning. If you practice it, say it over and over and over, it will transform you.