The Jesus Prayer

Reflections by Maxie Dunnam

choir singing

We call it “The Jesus Prayer.”Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner”.

It is often continually repeated as a part of personal devotional practice. The prayer is particularly esteemed by many of the spiritual fathers as a method of cleaning and opening up the mind to the presence Christ.

This prayer bears the heart of prayer in the petition, have mercy on me a sinner, and the strength of all prayers in the name, Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God

In my writing and teaching prayer, I often focus on NAMING as a primary dynamic of prayer: we name God as God is in our experience, we name ourselves as we are before God, and we allow God to name us. A new perspective on that has come to me.

Almost every day my wife and have a devotional prayer time together and we often sing as a part of it. Just recently it has “hit me” that the naming dynamic is powerful in our singing as well as our praying. John Newton, the converted slave trader sang about it.

How sweet the Name of Jesus sounds 
In a believer’s ear! 
It soothes his sorrow, heals his wounds, 
And drives away his fear.

It makes the wounded spirit whole, 
And calms the troubled breast; 
‘Tis manna to the hungry soul, 
And to the weary, rest. 

O How I Love Jesus is a “Jesus Name” song that expresses the Gospel clearly and powerfully,

man praying

There is a name I love to hear,
I love to sing its worth;
It sounds like music in mine ear,
The sweetest name on earth!

It tells me of a Savior’s love,
Who died to set me free;

It tells of One whose loving heart
Can feel my deepest woe,

Who in each sorrow bears a part
That none can bear below.

It bids my trembling heart rejoice,
It dries each rising tear,
It tells me in a still, small voice
To trust and never fear. 

With that fresh perspective, let us pray, and let us sing,

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’r!
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
O for grace to trust Him more.

-Maxie Dunnam