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Ok, I know I have mentioned how active I am at church. I am a Christian and I truly believe in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I tend not to be one who discusses it everywhere, however I do try to keep God in my life every day. When I visit my parents I have my favorite shops to go to and one of them is the Priory Shop at the Community of Jesus. It is located right at Rock Harbor and it is always so calming to visit there. You can also get tours of the Church of the Transfiguration, their million or maybe even multimillion dollar church that opened about ten years ago. While there I always love to browse the books and often find some inspiring books. This last visit was no different. While keeping Hazel busy with samples of the homemade jam on crackers and granola, I was able to find a new book. I'm only in the second chapter, but I am very interested in it. The book is The Jesus Prayer by Frederica Mathewes-Green.
Knowing nothing about the Jesus Prayer, I was intrigued. The book says that learning the Jesus Prayer and praying properly will bring you closer to God and hear God speaking to you. The prayer is simple, "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me." is the simplest form of it. A longer form is "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner." Now the trick is you need to say it one hundred times each day. To do this, you need some prayer beads to keep track of it. So I had Hazel help me make a prayer bead necklace and she wanted one too, but we did not put one hundred beads on hers.
I used the cross I had gotten that is made out of olive wood from Jerusalem. Then we lined out ten rows of ten beads. It was great to see Hazel figure out what one hundred looks like. I changed the first and last beads of each row so I could count by ten by the feel of the beads. I did not use a pattern to the beads beside that since I figured my prayers and my sins will be both small and large. Then while I strung my beads, Hazel laid out some for herself. She decided the round ball ones rolled around too much, so she used the flatter ones and we had a butterfly bead left from the Melissa & Doug butterfly bead collection she was given for her birthday, so we used that one.
We made hers into a necklace so she can wear it even when she is not praying. Then I taught her the Jesus Prayer. We of course did not make it through all the beads on either necklace before she got bored and I have yet to take the time to do it one hundred times let alone each day, but I'm still reading the book, so at least I am ready when I finish it. Supposedly doing this practice will get you to the point where your mind is praying continuously even when you are doing other things and thus living out the instructions Paul gives in several of his letters including 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
"16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."and in Romans 12:12
"12 Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles, and pray at all times."and in Ephesians 6:18
"18 Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints."and finally in Colossians 4:2
"2 Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving."
The Jesus Prayer is widely taught in Eastern Orthodox Churches. The book goes through some history of it as well as some of the difference between Eastern and Western Churches. However if you want more information you can check out the book or you can read some more on Wikipedia.
So this is what I am exploring right now when I have time to read something that is not a children's book.