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The Jesus Prayer

The Ancient Desert Prayer that Tunes the Heart to God

Frederica Mathewes-Green


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  In the earliest centuries of faith, Christians in the deserts of Palestine and Africa sought a short prayer that could be easily repeated, in order to acquire the habit of “prayer without ceasing.” The result was The Jesus Prayer:  “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me.”  This jewel of Eastern Christianity aims at enabling a person to be in God’s presence, rather than to focus on feelings or thoughts about God.  The first section of The Jesus Prayer offers a concise overview of the history, theology, and spirituality of Orthodoxy, so that the Prayer can be understood in its native context. Following, is a conversational question-and-answer format that takes the reader through practical steps for adopting this profound practice in everyday life.  

Praise For The Jesus Prayer: The Ancient Desert Prayer that Tunes the Heart to God

Even if you don't believe that Paul's admonition to "pray without ceasing" or "pray constantly" was meant to be taken literally, you'll find much to ponder in this lucid account of the history, the meaning, and - especially - the practice of the Jesus Prayer: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me." Most for the exposition is in a reader-friendly question-and-answer format.,
Christianity Today,
October 2009,

Paraclete Press, 9781557256591, 196pp.

Publication Date: November 1, 2009

About the Author

Frederica Mathewes-Green is a widely published author of 10 books and hundreds of essays in such diverse publications as the Washington Post, Christianity Today, Smithsonian, and the Wall Street Journal. She has been a regular commentator for National Public Radio (NPR), a columnist for the Religion News Service,, and Christianity Today, and a podcaster for Ancient Faith Radio. She is in high demand as a speaker. She lives with her husband, the Rev. Gregory Mathewes-Green, in Johnson City, TN. Their three children are grown and married, and they have fourteen grandchildren.