worship tricks

worship tricks [first series]

no 30 : jesus prayer cord

prayer cord picto call something that has such a weight of tradition as the jesus prayer a 'worship trick' sounds like trivialising it but it's not meant to! on saturday at grace we had a guest speaker (very rare for us to have a speaker! maybe the first for two years?!), simon barrington ward, who spoke about the jesus prayer and then led us in about 10 minutes of prayer with it. what he had to say was wonderful but i didn't write it down. however the prayer is simple. there are variations on it but the basic prayer is 'lord jesus christ son of god have mercy on me (a sinner)'. this is from the orthodox church. you say it slowly repeating it. simon described how when he first encountered the use of the prayer at an orthodox monastery the person leading had a cord with 100 knots. beginning at the tassle as they prayed once through the jesus prayer they would go along the cord one knot. the tassle at the start could be a reminder to pray for the holy spirit to come to you. then after 25 knots there was a bead - whilst there are no rules the person praying suggested that on reaching that it might be good to gently focus on distractions and put them to one side. after another 25 knots there is another bead. at that point you could focus on someone else to pray for. after another 25 knots another bead at which point you could go into silence. this way you pray the jesus prayer 100 times and it gives a pattern to it. obviously you don't need the cord. but having said that it seemed like a good idea so the next day we made some from some string and beads (see pic).... just an idea!