Talk:Jesus Prayer

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Buddhist links[edit]

The idea of using the prayer of the heart to achieve some sort of clarity of thought or depth of concentration is an idea adopted from Buddhists and other eastern philosophies either directly or indirectly. In any case, the practitioner's goal may require concentration and focus, but these are not the goals. The goal is humility and contrition for ones sins. Phiddipus 9:28, 12 Nov 2004 (PST)

I have extensively edited the page on the Jesus Prayer. I hope that I have given adequate references. 08:19, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

The assertion above by Phiddipus that the Jesus Prayer, or Prayer of the Heart, or Hesychasm, depends on 'Buddhists and other eastern philosophies either directly or indirectly' is something that would need to be proved. It never has. 08:19, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

OM, you misunderstand what I said...What I said was in response to the previous revision of the article at that time which claimed that the goal of the Jesus prayer was to achieve clarity of thought and depth of concentration. My response was a disagreement to that statement. Such goals as clarity of thought and depth of concentration are not Orthodox Christian goals but goals more appropriate to Buddhist and other eastern, non Christian philosophies. The Orthodox Christian goal in reciting the Jesus Prayer is to seek humility and contrition for one's sins. Phiddipus 02:41, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

Sorry for the misunderstanding. What you say is correct. However, there is still a bit of confusion. While it is true that, in the sense that the West understands raja yoga, the goal of the Jesus Prayer is not to achieve clarity of thought and depth of concentration, you are creating an unfortunate dichotomy between that and compunction and humility, as if we had to choose one or the other. It is true that there is one school in the practice of the Jesus Prayer that emphasizes compunction and humility, cultivating tears. The problem arises in the practice of Hesychasm. For in a basic text of Hesychasm, Pros Theodoulon, by St Hesychios, closely connected to the Ladder of Divine Ascent of St John of Sinai, the goal of the Hesychast, or pratitioner of the Jesus Prayer, is to achieve sobriety (Gr: nepsis), the highest stage of which is the guard of the mind. This is a freedom from tempting thoughts (Gr: logismoi). This practice of sobriety is certainly integrated into the cultivation of humility (is there a Christian spirituality that does NOT cultivate humility?) and certainly does not frown on compunction. However, it does not cultivate feelings of compunction and humility. Instead, it aims for a sobriety which is similar to the clarity of thought and depth of concentration you speak of as being Eastern, although not merely for the sake of such clarity and concentration, which admittedly was your point. This sobriety is integrated into the continuous invocation of Jesus Christ by the Hesychast, and combined with an Eros for Jesus Christ. Hence it is a Christian sobriety. The Hesychast has a very intense but very sober relationship with Jesus Christ. If there is any problem with this, please reply. With best wishes 09:18, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

Before starting look at Hindu near death experiences http://www.near-death.com/hindu.html and EO Christian death experience http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyBDs8JpEa8 . Which one do you prefer? Buddhism and other eastern religions may give the same near death as Hinduism.
To understand Eastern religions like Hinduism, Yoga, Buddhism one can read an interesting book The Gurus The Young Man and Elder Paisios. Great book. Without reading the book don't even try to discuss Eastern religions. Do you know that Eastern Religion Holy Books have magic that means very powerful sorcery? Mantrick in Sanskrit means sorcerer and mantra = what can it be?
In the prayer and in non christian meditation, on one side of the communication is you, on the other side things probably change DRASTICALLY. If you don't believe pray while in a yoga or other meeting for God to give you a sign if the meeting is Ok for you and your salvation. On the other way, Buddhists and Hindus do believe in the after life http://www.near-death.com/hindu.html and understand when you tell them about that. They don't have baptism for enetering Kingdom of God John 3:3 or John 3:5 neither Holy Communion for eternal life John 6:53-54 unfortunately. My advice is stay away from Eastern religions, mediums, psyches and such. Christianity is best. Pray to God to be forced to salvation and to show you the truth about all religions and denominations and you'll find out.--64.135.5.242 (talk) 22:13, 8 January 2013 (UTC)--64.135.5.242 (talk) 22:06, 8 January 2013 (UTC)

Text of the prayer[edit]

Where is it?

The text as taught to me by the Greek Orthodox monks following the traditions of the monastery of of St John on Patmos is
"Lord Jesus Christ, The Son of God, have Mercy on Me, the Sinner". When said in community the last part is changed to "Have Mercy on us". --Phiddipus 04:43, 30 October 2006 (UTC)
One version I heard recited aloud at a monastery in Greece was: «Κύριε Ἰησοῦ Χριστέ, ἐλέησόν με.» "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me." MishaPan 16:57, 5 September 2007 (UTC)
Grammatically correct is the form: "the sinner" and not "a sinner" since "ton amartolon" uses the definite artice "ton".[1][2]
I have corrected the full version of Jesus Prayer as "Lord Jesus Christ, The Son of God, have Mercy on Me, the Sinner". Eidimon (talk) 21:48, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
Actually, there are entire fields of scholarship (including Dynamic equivalence) devoted to exploring and explaining issues such as why a definite article in one language will not always be translated with a definite article in another language. To say "the sinner" in English might give the impression that the person speaking thinks that he is the only sinner, or the most important one, etc... AnonMoos (talk) 22:09, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
Believing that you are THE ONLY sinner or the worst is one of the first steps along this road. So "a sinner" is not only wrong as translation, but also in concept. Implying that are others means maybe some others are worse than you, thus missing one of the main points. Please refrain from reverting. -- 00:52, 25 April 2009 92.80.58.63
OK. You might be right, yet I believe that most of those who are are taught in english the prayer are taught the "the sinner" variation. I'll just note the definite artice issue at the variations in the text for readers.Eidimon (talk) 22:50, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
In most English speaking monasterties, e.g. Essex, they say "a sinner" — Preceding unsigned comment added by 82.35.244.95 (talk) 07:29, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

Intro[edit]

Cut form intro:

However, a number of different repetitive prayer formulas have been attested in the history of Eastern Orthodox monasticism (e.g. the Prayer of St Ioannikios, the repetitive use of which by St Ioannikios (754–846) is described in his Life; the more recent practice of St Nicholas Velimirovich (1880–1956)). Sometimes the Jesus Prayer is alternated with an invocation to the Mother of God: "Most Holy Theotokos, save us." In such a case, the practitioner repeats, say, 400 Jesus Prayers and then 100 invocations of the Mother of God.

Doesn't belong in intro; just not sure where to paste it. --Uncle Ed 21:09, 21 November 2006 (UTC)

I've put it into the article (new section). adriatikus | 14:26, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

In Spanish[edit]

I was surprised not to find the prayer in Spanish given. I have translated it for the reader. Note the similarity to the Portuguese. If anyone knows a more official version, feel free to correct my translation. cwb 70.161.208.216 15:38, 5 September 2007 (UTC)

Translations[edit]

Would some of you please check your translations for this prayer. I can see at the very least the Latin translation is incorrect as MEI is a genitive not an accusative or a dative. The Dative MIHI is grammatically the correct one but that depends on how the prayer is actually used by Latin native speakers. Some Latin speakers copy the case of the Greek in prayers of Greek origin and that would lead to an accusative here. Again, please check this and the others to make sure the translations are correct. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 60.36.195.64 (talk) 15:02, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

1) According to [3] (search for "misereo"), the verb is used with the genitive.
2) "(...) is actually used by Latin native speakers"? Hehe. adriatikus | talk 17:45, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

As an after thought, you could probably track down the Aramaic (Syriac and Neo), Coptic, Ge'ez and Armenian versions of this prayer to round out the liturgical languages. If this prayer is important to those parts of Christianity at all they there will be a version. I could generate the Coptic but not the others. But then again, if the prayer is not used by those Churches, then there would be no point as it wouldn't exist in their liturgical language for a reason. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 60.36.195.64 (talk) 15:06, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

The liturary idiom of the Psalms uses the Genitive but modern day Latin speakers naturally want to use Miserere with a Dative. This is why I called it into question. Any translation here should refect actual use if indeed this prayer is used in the language in question. I do not need to be refered to a dictionary to know that Miserere CAN take a genitive but the issue is modern Latin usage or even historical Christian usage. I certainly am not going to go up to a Latin speaker waving a dictionary and telling that they should change to the genitive when the normal way is to use the dative. The most frequent use of this verb in the second person imperative is with NOBIS in the liturgy. Of course we can find NOSTRI in the psalms but that is not the current spoken form.

The fact that you would refer me to a dictionary, even one from a laudable Christian university as Notre Dame certainly is, shows me that you are probably not a Latin speaker and not well equiped to answer the question. This causes me to have even greater concern over the translations of this prayer here. However, I did look this prayer up in the Latin Enchiridion and found that a version of this prayer is indeed promulgated by the Church that uses Miserere with Mei. This would put the issue of the case that is acceptable to use to rest but brings up other issues. The version of the prayer that is sanctioned for use in the Latin Rite is not the full version that you have listed here. The version listed is shorter, Domine Christe miserere mei. Of course onto this one MAY add the other bits and there certainly would not be an objection to doing so for private prayer.

Lastly, let me address this HE HE that you put in your reply. I find this extremely lacking in charity and going into the area of insult. I do not know the level of insult implied by this so I will address it at a moderate level. This kind of attitude should be knocked off completely. Just because you are willfully ignorant of modern day Latin Speakers does not put their existance into question. Arguement such as <Latin is a dead language> or < Cicero would have said jadda jadda jadda> do not impress me. Latin is certianly not dead nor is Cicero the exemplar of Latin for Christian among whom Cicero is not counted as a member. <But Cicero...>; I do not care at all, AT ALL. Classical Latin is not the standard to be used by Christians, especially not on matters of correct form in prayer.

Now that this issue is for me at least put to rest my only suggestion for this article is that it would be fitting considering the subject matter to seperate the vernaculars languages from the Liturgical languages and list the Liturgical language first. This would allow Aramaic, Coptic and Latin to be featured in their proper place above languages such as Arabic, which though widely used by the Church in some areas is not counted as a Liturgical, Scriptural or Legal language to be looked to. This is why the Maronites, Melchites, Armeneans, Syrians and Coptic Churches retain their original Liturgical language and only use Arabic out of nessecity. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 219.127.251.137 (talk) 00:06, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

If you think you've found a better Latin translation, be bold and edit the article, providing your sources.
You're right, I'm not a Latin speaker (but I speak a Romance language, which helps a bit). I've only searched to see what declension is to be used in this case, giving an argument. I'm not the original editor of the translation, so your concern shouldn't be greater. And don't take it personally, we all use dictionaries for once in a while.
I consider your expression – "willfully ignorant" – being only the outcome of confounding a genuine laughter with sarcasm, and not "addressing at a moderate level". But "Latin native speakers" ? I don't give a dime about politically correctness (if this is the case here), and I don't think laughting means insulting. Obviously, the message (the meaning of symbols) in a communication depends not only on the sender, but also on the receiver. In WP we generally assume good faith.
About the Liturgical languages, I too consider the list being maybe too big. But in Eastern Orthodoxy national languages are Liturgical languages:

"Orthodox Worship has always been celebrated in the language of the people. There is no official or universal liturgical language. Often, two or more languages are used in the Services to accommodate the needs of the congregation. Throughout the world, Services are celebrated in more than twenty languages which include such divers ones as Greek, Slavonic, Arabic, Albanian, Romanian, English, and Luganda." (from here).

EG: I've recently took part in an Arabic Eastern Orthodox Liturgy in Nazareth (see also Palestinian Christians). As about Latin to be featured in its proper place, it's not the case here, because the article is basicly about an Eastern Orthodox tradition, where Latin isn't used. adriatikus | talk 08:39, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
Slavonic used to be somehow the equivalent of Latin in the West. It was not used outside the religious context and it is not the equivalent of any Slavic language. The service IS NOT kept in Slavonic. It is a mistake – it should be Slavic Languages and by that meaning Russian, Bulgarian, Serbian, Polish, etc.

The name "of the Heart"[edit]

The first sentence reads "...also called the Prayer of the Heart when recited in sync with the human heart-beat". I know it's also called "of the heart", I know it may be said in sync with the heart. But I'm not sure of the link "when" between. Read also this at GOArch. I propose removing the word "when". adriatikus | talk 00:19, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

Hebrew translation[edit]

I have serious doubts the Hebrew translation is accurate. Here are two reasons:

  • The "alternate He" was re-translated into En as "... Jesus Christ, the Messiah, ...", but Christ (in Greek) =Messiah (in Hebrew). This raises doubts about the editor who "translated" it, although it was supposed to provide the currently used form. -- This is fixed now.
  • The 1s form is "Jesus the Nazarene". I know Christians are called Nazarenes in Israel. But the prayer has theological grounds on Jesus as being the Anointed One, not on the particular naming of Christians in Hebrew.

Can anyone check it or provide the proper translation? adriatikus | talk 10:49, 18 March 2008 (UTC)

I've commented out the Hebrew translation until someone will check it. It is still in the article's page, but between <!-- and -->. adriatikus | talk 10:55, 18 March 2008 (UTC)

Not sure that either Hebrew version is really all that great, but Yešūa` Ham-Mašīaħ would be a conventional translation for "Jesus Christ"... AnonMoos (talk) 15:09, 18 March 2008 (UTC)


I've decided to remove Hebrew for good. Let's stick to the languages used in autocephalous churches only, otherwise the list will be enormous (since IP's are constantly translating the prayer into their mother tongues). FIY this was the translation:

adriatikus | talk 15:36, 20 March 2008 (UTC)

Disputed / controversial etc.[edit]

I have started editing the article approx. on 1 Feb. 2008 (this version). It was initially a rewrite of the unreferenced, OR section Analogues in other religions. It became then obvious to me that the article needed a better approach (be it only because it is a major topic in EO). I think the article has to be a good intro into the subject not only for an EO, but also for RC, Protestant, non-Christian, and atheist. I am aware of the expected carefulness, required not only by the WP guidelines. It is a sensitive topic needind clear and broadly recognized references. That's why I have tried that virtually all edits to be backed up by sources. That's why editing is so slow. As of 2008-04-07 the article is not yet finished. It misses info in major areas, and glue between sections/paragraphs. My notes regarding this article are here (my own guidelines only). If someone thinks and feels (s)he can help, please do so. You are welcome. IMHO, EO related articles in WP need a lot of work (go to WP:EO). But don't send me private e-mails complaining. It's useless.

Briefly: the article is unfinished, needs a lot of work, you are welcome to help by editing. Thank you. adriatikus | talk 14:49, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

The first paragraph under the subhead "Scriptural roots"...[edit]

is irrelevant to the discussion. It should be deleted. (I would think that this same information appears on an appropriate Greek Orthodox page.) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 71.122.147.66 (talk) 02:25, 27 July 2008 (UTC)

Jesus prayer and prayer of the heart[edit]

Just a short note to let you know that the Jesus prayer and the prayer of the heart are not synonymous. The Jesus prayer can form a part of the prayer of the heart but one who has attained to uninterrupted prayer of the heart no longer needs the Jesus prayer. One could say that the Jesus prayer is one means by which prayer of the heart may be reached. The upshot of all this apparent pedantry is that there should be two separate articles: one for the Jesus prayer and one for the prayer of the heart. best wishes. Langdell (talk) 23:40, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

Levels of prayer should be taken off[edit]

The levels of the prayer should not be in this article. It is irrelevant. Those are about any prayer. Because some step up that ladder with these words doesn't mean it should be here. The place for that section is in a more general article, say the article about prayer. -- 00:52, 25 April 2009 92.80.58.63

The Variants and other faiths[edit]

This article is about the Orthodox practice of repetitive prayer. Non-orthodox formulas/versions are misleading in this case. Either remove them or make a clearly separate section about similar practices in other faiths. -- 00:52, 25 April 2009 92.80.58.63

Variants[edit]

This prayer is called like that because of the repetitive invocation of the NAME of our Lord. "Lord have mercy" is NOT that. It is a short prayer (maybe the shortest besides calling just the name) which can be used with the same technique. But it is NOT the same.

The essence of the prayer of the heart is to call the name of the Lord and ask for mercy. -- 00:52, 25 April 2009 92.80.58.63

Fatima prayer[edit]

I think the Roman Catholic Fatima prayer is sometimes called the Jesus prayer. It could perhaps be featured more prominently within the article, instead of just a link at the bottom of the page. ADM (talk) 09:45, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

Scriptural origin of the wording?[edit]

Isn't the text a slightly changed verse from the Gospels somewhere, which differs only in that it has "Son of David" instead of "Son of God"? At least that's what somebody told me. Could somebody with more theology savvy put this in if it is true? -- 92.229.147.30 (talk) 23:18, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

Luke 18:13, 14 uses a variation: "God, be merciful to me, a sinner!" The tax collector, uttering the prayer, is justified, while the Pharisee is not.

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!'

18:14 I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted."

Cheezem (talk) 00:11, 23 October 2010 (UTC)

Prayer of The Heart[edit]

Have made an edit to the introduction explaining – according to St Theophan's teaching – that the Jesus Prayer and the Prayer of the Heart are not synonymous but the Jesus prayer can bring about Prayer of the Heart. 81.106.115.153 (talk) 13:59, 19 June 2010 (UTC)

Unsourced translations section[edit]

No sources are given for the elements presented in the section on translations. The additions and supposed improvements that have been made show that the translations given are only the private work of individuals, sometimes just of the editors who insert them. This is the English Wikipedia, not a multilingual dictionary. It is for the Wikipedias in other languages to indicate the supposedly correct form in those languages. The section should therefore be removed. Esoglou (talk) 10:38, 11 December 2010 (UTC)

Techniques[edit]

The section Techniques is mostly just one really long quote. The provided reference link doesn't work so I can't get the context in order to summarize it properly. (I'm also in even more pain than usual right now and just can't do that much typing anytime soon.) If someone else could take a stab at it I'd really appreciate it. --Kitsunegami (talk) 03:08, 13 January 2012 (UTC)

The Greek for "Sinner"[edit]

It should be emphasized that the Greek of the prayer (transliterated) hamartolon, which we translate as "sinner" does not imply direct guilt and an act of transgression, but that in our human imperfection we "miss the mark" and our error is in our coming up short being human. It strikes directly at the doctrine of original sin and redemption. We cannot be redeemed except through Christ. --ColonelHenry (talk) 19:37, 11 July 2012 (UTC)

Off-topic section[edit]

The "Repentance in Eastern Orthodoxy" section seems to be only vaguely related. It also attempts without citing reliable sources to present, in addition, a picture of Roman Catholic rather than Eastern Orthodox theology. Esoglou (talk) 06:56, 7 August 2012 (UTC)