The Jesus Prayer

“Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.”
This is known as the Jesus prayer among our Orthodox brethren.
It is prayed in three ways:
As a “prayer of the heart” in silence in the hesychast method of prayer.
As a continual mental and unceasing prayer of the faithful.
As a brief ejaculatory prayer used to ward off temptations.
These three uses of the prayer are often interrelated and combined.

Bartimaeus, sitting by the roadside, cries out loud:
“Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.”
It is a cry from the heart of a blind desperate man.
As Jesus hears him, He asks:
“What do you want me to do for you?”
The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.”
Jesus told him, ‘Go your way; your faith has saved you.”
Immediately he received his sight.

As I begin the day, before the hustle and bustle sets in
As I end my day, just before sleeps takes over
I pray with all heart and repeatedly
“Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.”
Grateful for all the blessings of life, so undeserved.
Contrite for all my shortcomings in spite of all the blessings.
Awed by the greatness of a God who has brought me into existence.
Offering to God everything that will happen to my life during this day.

There are many moments of weakness during the day.
I want to go good but end up doing the opposite.
There are times I feel like giving up.
There are times I feel like it makes no sense believing.
Or even living.
During such moments of temptation, I pray:
“Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.”
And then I see.
After a while, the temptation passes.
And life goes on as it should.

By the word of the Lord the heavens were made.
~ Psalm 33

As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd,
Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus,
sat by the roadside begging.
On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth,
he began to cry out and say,
“Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.”
And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent.
But he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me.”
Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”
So they called the blind man, saying to him,
“Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.”
He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus.
Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?”
The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.”
Jesus told him, ‘Go your way; your faith has saved you.”
Immediately he received his sight
and followed him on the way.
Mark 10:46-52

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