Saint George Orthodox Christian Church
Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese
1505 Avenue G Kearney, Nebraska

The Jesus Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me. (shorter form)

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. (longer form)

The purpose of prayer can be summarized in the phrase, "Become what you are." Become, consciously and actively, what you already are potentially and secretly, by virtue of your creation according to the divine image and your re-creation at Baptism. Become what you are: more exactly, return into yourself; discover Him who is yours already, listen to Him who never ceases to speak within you; possess Him who even now possesses you. Such is God's message to anyone who wants to pray: "You would not seek Me unless you had already found Me."
   But how are we to start? How, after entering our room and closing the door, are we to begin to pray, not just by repeating words from books, but by offering inner prayer, the living prayer of creative stillness? How can we learn to stop talking and to start listening? Instead of simply speaking to God, how can we make our own the prayer in which God speaks in us? How shall we pass from prayer expressed in words to prayer of silence, from "strenuous" to "self-acting" prayer...from "my" prayer to the prayer of Christ in me?
   One way to embark on this journey inwards is through the Invocation of the Name.

- Metropolitan Kallistos Ware

Noetic prayer is a very interesting subject. It is clearly an empirical state....Naturally, the Church has her own records that document how someone with inner noetic prayer experiences this phenomenon. It is a spiritual state, with a tradition spanning hundreds of years, in which the person praying hears the prayer being said within his heart. The saints, in turn, have interpreted this tradition of noetic prayer in a specific way, and on the basis of their interpretation, the Church knows that noetic prayer is a spiritual experience that results from the effects of the Holy Spirit's grace on the human heart. There are so many writings by the Fathers on this subject that no one can deny the existence of this long-lived tradition, even without exploring everything that Holy Scripture has to say about it. And today there are people living in our midst who have come to know for themselves this tradition by experience, because they can feel noetic prayer active within them.

- Protopresbyter John Romanides