Tuesday, December 12, 2006

God loves in a nutshell

In the autumn children gather conkers - this is a dried one I collected - it reminds me of Julian of Norwich: 'It was at this time that our Lord showed me spiritually how intimately he loves us. I saw that he is everything that we know to be good and helpful. In his love he clothes us.. And he showed me more, a little thing, the size of a hazel-nut, on the palm of my hand, round like a ball. I looked at it thoughtfully and wondered, 'What is this?' and the answer came, 'It is all that is made.' I marvelled that it continued to exist and did not suddenly disintegrate; it was so small. And again my mind supplied the answer, 'It exists, both now and for ever, because God loves it.' In short, everything owes its existence to the love of God.' Take time out to think on the wonder of God's love for you and creation as you journey around the Prayer Cord. Andrew

Friday, October 20, 2006

COTA's 'Ordo': music for the Jesus Prayer podcast

I've mentioned the Church of the Apostles CD 'Ordo' before, but here's a podcast of the track 'Have Mercy'. This track is an excellent way to lead in to a time of praying the Jesus Prayer using contemporary music. I haven't uploaded the full track - you can download or send for the CD. Enjoy! Andrew

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Anglican Prayer Bead Confirmation Experience

I sat on the beach at Tenby making knotted Anglican Prayer Cords for our
Confirmation Group - there are two adults (63 yrs and 38 yrs) and 3 young
people (12yrs). On our last session before the service, we had a practice and
then spent some time with God.

We started with an explanation and then we sang. We said the Lord's prayer on
the Cross, 'May the words of my mouth' etc on the invitatory bead, 'Jesus Lamb
of God, have mercy on me, a sinner
' on the single beads - they repeated after me
rather than have it on a bit of paper, then on each group of seven beads, we prayed in
turn for the world, the church - worldwide, our parish, congregation, the
people that had told us about God; our family and friends - the people who
loved us, we loved, who encouraged us to be here; ourselves - our journey with
God, the service; and then back to the invitatory and Lord's Prayer. We
finished with anointing and another song.

It was a really good time together with God - there was that quiet and stillness
and unwillingness to move or break the silence which comes from having been in
the presence of God. Chandy

Thursday, August 24, 2006

How to tie an Orthodox Prayer Rope

If you're feeling adventurous, I'm grateful to Brett, who sent me his link on How to tie an Orthodox Prayer Rope.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

The Convent

Iona arrives - 'The Convent': Wednesday 14th June BBC2 9pm
Last year's ground-breaking 'The Monastery' made riveting viewing as we watched the journey of 5 ordinary men who spent 40 days in Worth Abbey with life-changing results.  This year's series about four women promises to be no less intriguing.  Visit the Poor Clares mini site on the series. Andrew

Saturday, June 03, 2006

MP3 Prayer - iPod Prayer

Downloadable MP3/iPod prayer possibilities are emerging, and I've been experimenting with them; it's easy to listen to them in the car or as you're going along. Came across these iPray Lent movie clip prayer sessions too late for Lent, but there's another site offering daily iPod/MP3 prayer downloads which started as a Lent trial, but has now been extended due to overwhelming demand after a quarter of a million downloads. It's pray-as-you-go.org and you can download mp3 or WMA files or subscribe in iTunes to play on your MP3 player or iPod. The music tracks for the sessions (each session lasts 10 or 12 minutes - I found it helpful to pause from time to time) are listed here if you want to follow them up - they tend to be contemplative chant or meditation music. If you'd like to try out Ignatian Spirituality, (using your imagination to encounter Jesus) then pray-as-you-go might be a place to start. Enjoy! Andrew

to answer my question...

...does the gathering have to be physically together, or can it be spiritual and from a distance? I came across the Focolare movement years ago, and they opened my eyes to the reality that you can be 'gathered' in the intention and attitude of the presence of Jesus, of being 'in his name' with someone with whom you are not physically present. It can be a source of great strength... Andrew

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

getting mechanical

Been really busy leading up to Easter time - sorry for not being around to post. Just recently I found myself praying the Jesus Prayer quite fast and mechanically - it wasn't a prayer of my heart - I was just 'saying' it. What helped me was to slow down, take two or three words with each breath in and out, and focus on what I was saying and what it meant. I wonder too, how hard it is to pray the prayer on your own - Jesus promises: 'For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.' Now does the gathering have to be physically together, or can it be spiritual and from a distance? Andrew

Thursday, March 16, 2006


Maybe the strength of the Jesus Prayer is that it focusses on Jesus; it continually draws you to relate to Him, to consider Him, to believe in Him, to experience His compassion for yourself and ask it for others. The witness John wrote that Jesus said these words: "Believe in God, believe also in me.' (John 14:1)

Thursday, March 09, 2006

the Name

I came across a very good one page guide to the Jesus Prayer at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary Crestwood NY; a clear explanation of the biblical view and power of the Name, and an interesting story of St. Therese of Lisieux interceding for the serial killer Pranzini illustrate the power of prayer. There's also a beautiful comment on a scene of a girl walking in a field, on inner and outer silence. see here.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Subversive shopping

How can the simplicity of Jesus Prayer Spirituality be reflected in our lifestyle? I was thinking about a concept of 'subversive spending'; our consumer advertising promotes the expectation that we'll buy top of the range products and spend more than we 'need'. How about if when we shop, we buy the simpler, 'adequate' product, and always donate the difference between the cost of that and the higher end product to those in need? Andrew

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

the three time rule...

A friend sent me a text message to say that she'd been led to pray for me for the last two days. I'd actually been having a difficult time and I feel very moved that God would inspire someone to do that for me. Nigel Mumford in his book Hand to Hand: From Combat to Healing writes, 'I pray for particular people when they come to mind, and often find later that there was a real need on that particular occasion. I follow 'the three time rule:' when someone comes to mind three times, I call or visit to see if something is wrong. Often I find that God has communicated a friend's need.' The knots on a Prayer Rope or Rosary Beads can be used to represent and remind us of those for whom we want to pray.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

How I learned the Jesus Prayer...

I think it's interesting how people come to learn the Jesus Prayer, so I thought I'd share my experience. I was 18 and studying at London University; I used to visit the Catholic Chaplaincy in Gower Street. While there I came into contact with a woman called Mary Durnan - Mary was from Canada, had retired and was using her time to travel and to volunteer.

She was kind to me, and one day she asked me if I ever woke up in the middle of the night praying. Strangely enough it had happened a couple of times recently, and she went on to ask me if I'd heard of the Jesus Prayer. Well I had read of it in Carlo Carretto's book Letters from the Desert when I was at school - I'd even hitchhiked to Morrocco wanting to get to Carretto's Hermitage in Tamanrasset Algeria; I only got as far as the Little Sisters of Jesus in Fez though!

Anyway, Mary said, 'Would you like your own Jesus Prayer, Andrew?', and she prayed for me right there and then - I think it was on the bus - for me to receive it. Later I was praying through Psalm 19 - I was taking one psalm a day at that time, and I came to the last verse: 'Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer' and I thought, 'That's it! just change the words to Jesus, my Rock, my Redeemer' and I've been praying it ever since.

It was a beautiful gift and I shall be forever grateful to Mary, who I lost contact with. Do you have a Jesus Prayer story to share? Post a Comment or email me.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

going slow...

I'm grateful to Chandy for sending me this snippet: from Mrs. Lettie Cowman’s book, Springs in the Valley (pp. 196-197), comes this interesting tale from African colonial history: 

It was a century or more ago that in the deep jungles of Africa, a traveler was making a long trek. Natives of the area were hired to carry the loads. The first day they marched rapidly and went far. The traveler had high hopes of a speedy journey. But the second morning these jungle tribesmen refused to move. For some strange reason they just sat and rested. When asked about the reason for this strange behavior, the traveler was informed that they had gone too fast the first day, and that they were now waiting for their souls to catch up with their bodies. 

There are times when our lives move so fast, that we need to slow down and let our souls catch up with us --not literally, but figuratively. God bless, Andrew

Sunday, January 01, 2006

COTA 'Have mercy...'

The received wisdom for writing blog posts is that you should write original material for most of your posts - the trouble is I keep coming across things I like to share, so I'll break the rule again. The Church of the Apostles COTA has produced a CD 'Ordo', and the track 'Have Mercy' is the Jesus Prayer set to music. Haunting and meditative, you can listen to it here (it takes a while to load) and if you like it, buy the CD. Happy New Year, Andrew