Praying The Jesus Prayer Or Catholic Rosary? You Need To Read This Post

Orthodox Anthology: “THE JESUS PRAYER”. A SIMPLE BUT VERY POWERFUL ...

This isn’t a “how to pray” blog post. I’m writing this assuming you already know what the Jesus prayer is. Presumably you will know its origins as well as the western Catholic rosary, which is also prayed in the east, in another format.

In this blog post I talk about the actual problems beginners or even the experienced will encounter when praying this prayer. I will of course deal with one of the major problems that a person experiences in the beginning.

The demons that govern the air do not like any prayer at all, but there are some prayers that really disturb them. Two of the major prayers of both the east and the west that really wake up the demons are the Theotokos Rosary, and the Jesus prayer.

From the little experience I have, I would say the Jesus prayer is a tougher one. This might have to do with the fact that it’s to be prayed on ones own and not in a community (even though one can pray the rosary in isolation). It is also shorter and much more repetitive with not as many prayers involved in between. But most of all, it is such a personal prayer of humility before God, that it really is a prayer that shakes the hornets nest.

In the west, we are often sold these meditations by popular new age gurus that help us to be at peace. These meditations are designed to help us calm ourselves down. This kind of false prayer where you’re just sitting not thinking about anything, pleases the demons. Not only does it please them, it attracts them and opens doors for them to mess with your life.

I used to do these before I was Christian. I had some distracting thoughts as anyone else would, but that’s about it. It generally wasn’t that hard, especially the guided visualization meditations. You know the type I am talking about. You’re walking on a beach at sunset listening to the waves caress the sands etc. You’re told to take a comfortable position and so on. You get what I’m saying.

Prayer in the Christian tradition does have these elements of peace and quiet, but for the most part, prayer is seen as warfare. It’s seen as a struggle and the peace, and sweetness derived from the prayer is a gift of God, not earned. The prayer isn’t prayed to get peace or sweetness, for then, like the false meditation we spoke of, it becomes a prayer of self interest. No! We pray the prayer simply to ask for Gods mercy that we may grow closer to Him. We are asked to sit in a position of discomfort to help with the focus on prayer, and stop the mind wandering.

One of the problems people encounter in this prayer is that many use the Rosary or Jesus prayer as a means to gain peace. The desire to pray the prayers begins out of self interest. ME ME ME!!! It’s always about ME!. By doing so we are already approaching prayer full of pride in search of an experience to benefit ourselves. It’s generally a bad start, but even so it doesn’t mean that the prayer won’t be of any benefit to us. Most people pray this way out of ignorance, and God takes this into account in the beginning. But a person does better in prayer when they eventually learn that this is not the way.

Another problem we encounter is boredom. Sometimes we start off well, but then our mind begins to wander. We find our lips praying the prayer, but our mind is out doing its shopping somewhere in the intellectual supermarket looking for attractive thoughts to be entertained by. We can’t worship both God and mammon so whatever we are praying just becomes like smoke that dissipates in the air as it reaches a certain height, and then is gone forever.

What happens when boredom kicks in is we take a formulation of the prayer, and then change it up as we go along. We start off with “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me the sinner”. After a while we shorten it to “Jesus have mercy on me”, or alter the words in some way. The idea of course is to try and deflect the boredom of having to say the same prayer over, and over again, but it’s a clear sign to the demons that the soul is sluggish, losing it’s grip on the prayer.

This is what the demons do. Unless you open doors for them to do some damage, or God permits them to do something to you for your own benefit, all they can do is discourage you. That feeling of joy you get in the beginning of your prayer, is later replaced by a heavy boredom and lethargic spirit. It actually feels like a weight upon your back. This is because all of Hell has unleashed upon you to discourage you from praying the prayer.

What they want to achieve is that after your prayer in which you struggle to finish or carry on because of your lethargy, you will now associate this prayer with bad vibes. Then, because you associate the Jesus prayer with anything but the “peace” you were after, you simply stop praying it. Like a spiritual vagabond you roam from prayer to prayer, trying to find the prayer that’s going to give you what you want, instead of staying and fighting through the lethargy. Remember that Jesus says the Kingdom of heaven is taken by force. You have to force yourself to pray. If this happens to you then the demons have succeeded, and you are considered an easy defeat in their eyes.

Like I said before. Praying this prayer is like shaking the hornets nest very violently. God will of course, give you moments of peace seeing your struggles to get closer to Him. But for the most part, prayer in the beginning is a bit like a man stranded upon an island. He has to build a raft worthy of getting over the first few powerful waves if he is to enjoy any kind of peace of the still waters, and be on his merry way to get home.

We are all stranded on the island of sin and ignorance far away from Christ. The idea is to build ourselves a prayer life strong enough to get us through the waves of the demons. Because it is not us who get through them, God is the one who does it for us. It is better for us to have a good spiritual disposition to allow God to do this for us. Once we leave the island, there will always be struggles and storms in the big ocean of uncertainty ahead of us, but we are through the worst of it. Now we can focus on our destination….HEAVEN!

When we pray, it turns the demons attention towards us. They don’t want you leaving that island. If you leave that island they’ve lost a soul to torture for eternity. They will do everything they can to form a wave big enough that you simply become discouraged, and decide to prefer being stranded on the island. Jesus says this in scripture about those of us who on some small bit of persecution on account of his Word, we fall away. We prefer the sinful life. These people in scripture started off in joy, but once they felt some struggle they ran back to their pleasure loving sinful lives again.

But I’m telling you that you must stand firm, have faith in God, and be consistent in your prayer to get over them big waves. Don’t look at the size of the wave, simply concentrate on getting over it. The Jesus prayer or Catholic rosary doesn’t look all that intimidating does it? They seem like short prayers, right? Try praying them consistently, and one will find they are not as easy as they look. But they are the simple life raft that will get you off that island.

God bless.





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