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Main Elements of the Jesus Prayer
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The Jesus Prayer, also called the Prayer of the Heart, is a short, formulaic prayer often uttered repeatedly. It has been widely used, taught and discussed throughout the history of the Eastern Orthodox Church. The exact words of the prayer have varied from the simplest possible involving Jesus' name to the more common extended form: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. He Jesus Prayer is composed of two statements. The first one is a statement of faith, acknowledging the divine nature of Christ. The second one is the acknowledgment of ones own sinfulness. Out of them the petition itself emerges: "have mercy." The hesychastic practice of the Jesus Prayer is founded on the biblical view by which God's name is conceived as the place of his presence. The Eastern Orthodox mysticism has no images or representations. The mystical practice (the prayer and the meditation) doesn't lead to perceiving representations of God (see below Palamism). Thus, the most important means of a life consecrated to praying is the invoked name of God, as it is emphasized since the 5th century by the Thebaid anchorites, or by the later Athonite hesychasts. For the Eastern Orthodox the power of the Jesus Prayer comes not from its content, but from the very invocation of the Jesus' name. Though the Jesus Prayer has been practiced through the centuries as part of the Eastern tradition, in the 20th century it also began to be used in some Western churches, including some Roman Catholic and Anglican churches.
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