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Thursday, 12 February 2015

The Jesus Prayer: make it an A-Z of confession



This blog entry combines two very long established practices of the worldwide church.
The Jesus Prayer, ‘Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner’ is one of the most ancient recorded prayers and is used today by countless Christians, especially by members of the Orthodox (Eastern) churches, who say the prayer over and over as a preparation for a time of personal prayer. Some use a knotted prayer rope similarly to rosary beads, the knots making for a discipline in the number of times the prayer is said. There is more about the practice of using the Jesus Prayer on this blog through the link at the bottom of this entry.

Self-evidently, the prayer has a confessional element. For me, and I guess for some others too, confession is, perhaps, the most difficult part of our personal prayer life: there is a defence mechanism that switches in all too readily which tries to persuade us we don’t have much to confess! Or, perhaps more dangerously, that there are a lot of people who behave far more badly than us – so why should we ‘beat ourselves up’ with remorse for a comparatively ‘low-sin’ lifestyle?

A regular practice of honest self-examination should quickly help us to see that every one of us  (YES –everyone!) has several patterns of thought, or habits, or conscious actions that we try hard to hide from others – and from God. But how to identify these?

I offer here a way of using the Jesus Prayer to help with self examination. Have a look at the pattern of the prayer below and see if that can help. It is in alphabetical form. Not every letter will be relevant to you – but it would be surprising if some weren’t!  If you can truly and honestly get from A to Z without any being relevant, you might want to look hard at the stanzas and then consider whether you can write one or more stanzas of your own to incorporate your own particular shortcomings!

More likely, there may be three, four, five, or more that you can identify; so try repeating these over and again as your personal confessional. OR, there may be just one, either in the suggested paragraphs or on your heart that you want to make into a single repeated petition -because you know that, of all things, keeps you from a joyful and fruitful relationship with God.

The Jesus Prayer: as an A-Z of confession 

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me

an arrogant/ avaricious sinner

a blaspheming/ bullying sinner

a covetous/ cheating/ corrupting/ cruel sinner
a derisive sinner
an envious/ excluding sinner

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me
a faithless/ forbidding sinner
a greedy/ grasping / gossiping sinner
a hypocritical/hate-filled sinner
an insensitive/ intolerant sinner
a  jealous sinner

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me
a kill-joy sinner
a lustful sinner
a merciless sinner
a nasty sinner
an oppressive/opportunistic sinner

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me
a profane/ proud/ promiscuous/ predatory sinner
a querulous/quiescent sinner
a revengeful sinner
a slothful/ spiteful/ sycophantic sinner
a triumphalist sinner

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me
an uncompromising sinner
a vexatious/ vicious sinner
a warring/ wasteful/ wrathful  sinner
a xenophobic sinner
a yobbish sinner

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me
a zeal-obsessed sinner






Cross and simple prayer rope

More information about the Jesus Prayer can be found on this blog at Jesus Prayer Illustrated

To find other poems, meditations and hymns for LENT, HOLY WEEK and EASTER, Click Here

Ten thousand billion suns - A scintilla of God’s Universe

Ten thousand billion suns - A scintilla of God’s Universe
It is currently thought that the Universe has at least 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars! Hence the use of the word ‘scintilla’ for a mere ten thousand billion.

Cross and Particle Accelerator (CGI)

Cross and Particle Accelerator (CGI)
Cross and Particle Accelerator. The words of 'A Prayer for Understanding' can be viewed by clicking on this image

Nebula (Embroidery)

Nebula (Embroidery)
Nebula (Embroidery) to accompany the poem 'Invitation' which can be found by clicking on the image.

Orange Galaxy

Orange Galaxy
'Orange Galaxy' posted to accompany 'Bounded and Boundless'. Go to the poem by clicking on the image.

Cosmic Icon 7 Summerflower

Cosmic Icon 7 Summerflower
Cosmic Icon 7 - Summerflower Nebula (Acrylic)

Cosmic Ikon 8 Moth

Cosmic Ikon 8 Moth
Cosmic Ikon 8: Moth Nebula(imagined-acrylic) The Gold field of deep space is intended to convey the Lordship of Christ over the whole of the Cosmos

Surprise garden rose (Photo)

Surprise garden rose (Photo)
This beautiful head of roses in our garden, which are giving off a delightful perfume in the morning sun, seems a fitting picture to link to the sonnet 'Evolution and Beauty'. Let the picture take you there. It is a surprise because it is growing high on a bush of otherwise pure yellow roses: amazing!

Cross and Vortex

Cross and Vortex
'Cross and Vortex' to accompany 'Stars and Planets Sing Your Glory'. Click on the image to go to the poem/hymn.

Gaseous Cosmic Threads (Mixed media)

Gaseous Cosmic Threads (Mixed media)
Gaseous Cosmic Threads: Mixed media - acrylics and painted threads

St Francis’ Sky (Photo)

St Francis’ Sky (Photo)
Warm Umbrian Hills: Click image to take you to the poem St Francis' Sky

Cosmic Labyrinth (CGI)

Cosmic Labyrinth (CGI)
'Cosmic Labyrinth' - This icon is a symbol of the path through the near reaches of the Cosmos with its 'Havens' where current advances in science (2012/13) are celebrated. By clicking on the picture you will be taken to the latest version of the poem of the same name.

Cross of Autumn Leaves (cropped Photo)

Cross of Autumn Leaves (cropped Photo)
Time, perhaps to consider a restorative break before the approach of Advent/ Christmas. Let this image take you to 'On Drawing Apart'.

IONA: The Marble Quarry (Photo)

IONA: The Marble Quarry (Photo)
On the South shore of Iona is a bay which shows the industrial scarring of a beautiful place. Read of it by clicking on the picture

Butterfly Nebula (CGI)

Butterfly Nebula (CGI)
The Imaginary Butterfly Nebula . Anything like this would be a real Curiosity! The image will link you to the reflection titled 'Curiosity' which is actually a celebration of the achievement of landing the Mars Rover of that name

Light of the World amidst stars (CGI)

Light of the World amidst stars (CGI)
'Light of the world' posted to accompany 'To Light'. Find the poem by clicking on the image.

Iona from Fionnphort (Watercolour)

Iona from Fionnphort (Watercolour)
Iona from Fionnphort. At this point of the Isle of Mull, the end of a pilgrimage or trip to Iona is in sight. Click on this picture to take you to the poem 'IONA - The Pilgrim Way'

Cross and simple Prayer rope (Photo)

Cross and simple Prayer rope (Photo)
Cross and simple prayer rope: make one like this to use as an aid to using ‘The Jesus Prayer'