An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Jesus Prayer, The

” Repetitive prayer, often in the form “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me, a sinner,” or variations of that form. It is associated with the spirituality of the eastern church. Early ascetics prayed the name “Jesus” and added to it the prayer of the publican, “God be merciful to me, a sinner” (Lk 18:13). The fourteenth-century hesychasts of Mt. Athos sought to follow literally St. Paul's injunction to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thes 5:17), praying the Jesus Prayer continuously. These monks developed the use of the Jesus Prayer as we know it. See Hesychasm.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.