On-line prayer...

There are four on-line prayer resources that I have used with varying frequency over the years - and find myself returning to again.

+ The first is "Pray-As-You-Go" @ http://www.pray-as-you-go.org/ a resource of the Jesuits of England.  With a refreshing collection of contemporary and ancient music, the heart of Ignatian spirituality is practiced in a very accessible way.

+ The second is "Sacred Space" @ http://sacredspace.ie/ another Jesuit website but this time hailing from Ireland.  It is silent but interactive as it leads you through a quiet 10 minute reflection each day.

+ The third is from the Community of Taize in France @ www.taize.fr/en_article5806.html. A complete Taize liturgy - with Psalms and Lessons - is offered each day along with prayers of petition and often something from the writings of Brother Roger.
+ And fourth, from my own tradition (United Church of Christ), is the eclectic and creative  "Feed Your Spirit" link @ http://www.ucc.org/feed-your-spirit/.I was blessed early this morning - as I prepare to go to the hospital for a brief procedure - to find the following style of prayer.  I often teach it to my own congregants as they prepare for hospital and surgery - and now I find it as a gentle affirmation for myself.

The rediscovery of ancient spiritual practices in the postmodern church has revived interest in the “Jesus Prayer” or “Prayer of the Heart.” Many 21st-century Christians have found in this simple method of prayer a discipline that can lead beyond words to silent contemplation of God's loving presence.

First practiced by the Desert Fathers (and Mothers) in the fifth century, the Jesus Prayer spread rapidly in the Eastern churches. The Jesus Prayer is often called a “breath prayer” because repetition of a sacred text is coordinated with the body's natural rhythm of breathing, a practice that slows the metabolism and helps to focus the mind and heart. “Let the memory of Jesus combine with your breathing,” wrote St. John Climacus in the sixth century, “then you will know the profit of silence.” As a “technique,” breath prayer superficially resembles meditative practices in Buddhism, Islam and other religions, but the Jesus Prayer is uniquely Christian because it centers on Jesus Christ as Savior.

The words most often associated with the Prayer of the Heart are based on the Christian confession that “Jesus Christ is Lord” and the prayer of the tax collector in Luke 18:13: "But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’” 

The most common formula is
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, * have mercy on me, a sinner.
The text can be simplified to
Jesus, Son of God, * have mercy on me.
Or simplified further to
Jesus * mercy.

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