Today is the last day of this column on Beliefnet.com. After over 12 years of daily writings on Beliefnet, I’m moving on. I thank God for this wonderful experience. As far as I’ve been told, I’m the last original Beliefnet contributing editor and writer; everyone else is new. Now, however, I need to make some […]
This week, I’m featuring sections of my new book, “Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer,” the chapter on Holy Mt. Athos. You may have seen the “60 Minutes” segment, and want to know more. In my book, I also have a lot of quotes and instructions from the monks on how to use prayer in your life, outside of a monastery.
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The new monks (on Mt. Athos) follow a way of life that has barely changed in a thousand years. The Byzantine day begins with vespers (esperinos) which lasts from the late afternoon until sunset. This is followed by a light meal for supper, then the service of compline (apodeipnon), and finally a little time for relaxation before the monks retire to their cells. After several hours of sleep, the monks are up at three a.m. and start their day with the morning office (orthros) a church service that anticipates sunrise. Morning prayer concludes with the highest moment of the day, the Divine Liturgy, and Communion with God in the form of the partaking of the consecrated bread and wine, which is Body and Blood of Christ. Following the Divine Liturgy the main meal is served to the priests, monks and pilgrims. From one until three in the afternoon the monks perform some kind of labor before returning to the church for vespers, which begins the cycle once again.
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The prayer they use is “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” This is a very ancient prayer, some said to have originated with the Apostles themselves.
Do YOU use this prayer? Please tell us about YOUR experiences with it, in a comment below.
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Unlock the Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer. Join the hermits, monks and nuns in peaceful silence and prayer with my new book and feature film. Available now in bookstores everywhere, and on our website, www.JesusPrayerMovie.com