The Jesus Prayer, some meditations upon it

My job is probably one of the hardest places to live up to my namesake. We are called to be like Christ, but in a place as dehumanizing and desensitizing as a restaurant, I can often become a child of Satan rather than a child of God.

So, to combat this mindset, I attempted to use one of the new tools that Orthodoxy has been teaching me to stay connected with God and his Church. I tried to pray the Jesus Prayer.

It began when I was walking into the store. I prayed through the ancient prayer many times, probably 50 or so. The words “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God. Have mercy on me” seemed to fill my head and the effects on my job and life within work were astounding. I was able to shrug off all of my usual arrogance and pride and to be joyful. I was able to treat my fellow worker not with contempt for the poor job I perceive this person doing but instead was able to see him as a child of God. I was inspired to pray for the salvation of one of the people that I work with who, by his own decisions, has gotten himself into quite a predicament.

The prayer, as simple as it is, is very powerful. Whenever I could feel myself beginning to slip in my attitude, I would pray the prayer and I would be centered. The name of the Lord Jesus is powerful. It brings the demons to their knees and my heart to prostratedness before Him.

Towards the end of the day, however, I had stopped praying the prayer. The worker whom I had earlier seen as a child of God became a nuisance, an obstacle to the money that I so desired. I began to bicker and complain, even going into a fit of rage when an employee was still on the clock an hour after he was supposed to start leaving. It all came to a boil when I walked right up to the GM and with the force of my rage told him that this person “didn’t do shit” and that he should just let him go. How is it that these evil things could come from my mouth?

It is very humbling sometimes when the demons attack. They catch us off guard and use everything to tear us down. When we stop praying, when we stop fasting, we stop living. We become animals, only content on bettering ourselves and not the others around us. That is why our Lord told us that the greatest commandments were to love our Lord our God with all of our heart, mind and soul, and to love our neighbor.

So now, sitting in silence, I have realized my sin, and the words of that ancient prayer mean more than ever to me.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have mercy on me. . . amen


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