Interceding for Others with the Jesus Prayer

H: Indeed, father, we have not said anything up to now about saying the Jesus prayer for others. How can one use the prayer for this purpose?

There is so much misfortune in the world, so much is wrong, there is so much ignorance of God, and that, according to the Fathers, is the greatest sin. Therefore you should cry and pray. St John Climakos has written a speech addressed to the shepherd and spiritual father who is the supervisor of the soul. He says the following. As the shepherd, when the sheep rest, lets the sheepdogs free, round the pen to guard the flock from the wolves, in the same way the priest must stay awake when the Christians sleep and let his mind free (like the dogs) and be watchful to entreat God for His people. How many people act prodigally at that time! How many want to commit suicide! How many are disappointed and in need. You should say the Jesus prayer for all these people—“Lord Jesus Christ have mercy upon thy servants” or “upon thy servant,” if you have a specific case in mind.

H: May I ask you a question? You said earlier that the Jesus prayer should be free from any imaginings. Now you say that we should pray for others, who have so many problems. But doesn’t this, perhaps, increase our imagination and make our mind wander, where in fact we should be trying to concentrate our nous on itself and on the heart?

You did very well to ask me this question, because an explanation about this is necessary. When we pray for others we should do it outwardly. That is, when we want to say the Jesus prayer for other people who are in need, we should say at first, “Lord Jesus Christ have mercy upon thy servants” or “thy servants”, remembering their names, but afterwards, we should continue without mentioning their names and without fixing our mind on them, without thinking of them. God knows who we are praying for then. Also you should not think about the problems that bother them. We only say, have mercy upon thy servant, and God will send His grace. And if he is worthy of accepting it, it will act according to his need. The grace of God, my father, is like the water, which, when it comes in the field, is absorbed by the roots and gives to each tree whatever it needs. Do we not keep the same principle during the Divine Liturgy, too. We pray for all matters and the people answer—“Lord, have mercy”. For, when the mercy of God comes it gives man what he really needs.

Met Hierotheos of Nafpaktos

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3 Responses to Interceding for Others with the Jesus Prayer

  1. Basem says:

    This is indeed wise counsel Fr. What can one do if he is feeling bitter against someone? I understand that bitterness is a sin that is born out of bruised serpent pride but sometimes it takes a life of its own despite the struggling, the cries, prostrations, and tears! One can still strive to be obedient, as this has always been the counsel of the Fathers, and pray for those who he is bitter at, even if not feeling like it, but the bitterness doesn’t go away quickly and one has to continue to taste its bitter taste and be tormented by its rotten stench! What can one do??

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    • Fr Aidan Kimel says:

      We may pray precisely as instructed in the citation. Perhaps by this praying God may also heal our souls.

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  2. Fr Aidan Kimel says:

    I learned yesterday that since writing A NIght in the Desert of the Holy Mountain, Met Hierotheos has disclosed that the unnamed Gerondas of the book was Elder Sophrony.

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