Elder Porphyrios on the Jesus Prayer: don’t put yourself under pressure

REJOICE in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.

Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4-7

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LET not the prayer (Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me) become tedious work.

Pressure may bring about a reaction internally, may do harm. Many people have gotten sick through the prayer because they pressed themselves.

Certainly, you can do it, when it becomes tedious work, but it’s not healthy.

Elder Porphyrios (Bairaktaris) the Kapsokalyvite (1906-1991)

Elder Porphyrios (Bairaktaris) the Kapsokalyvite (1906-1991). “What’s important in prayer is not the duration but the intensity. Pray even just for five minutes, but given to God with love and yearning”.

It’s not necessary to particularly focus to say the prayer. You don’t need to put effort into it when you have divine love.

Wherever you are, on a stool, on a chair, in a car, anywhere, in the street, at school, in the office, at work you can say the prayer, “Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me”, softly, without pressure, without strain.

What’s important in prayer is not the duration but the intensity. Pray even just for five minutes, but given to God with love and yearning.

Someone may pray all night, yet this 5 minutes of prayer be superior.

It’s a mystery, but that’s the way it is.

Elder Porphyrios the Kapsokalyvite. From the website of the Pantokrator Monastery in Thessaloniki.

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2 thoughts on “Elder Porphyrios on the Jesus Prayer: don’t put yourself under pressure

  1. Thanks so much, Nicholas. Your posts on the Jesus Prayer have been a great encouragement and a great learning tool in my own tentative steps towards the prayer of the heart. I first heard this recording of Elder Ephraim praying the prayer a few weeks ago through one of your side-bar links. Hearing *how* he prays it (simply, quickly, effortlessly) was extremely helpful. And the contrasting example of Elder Joseph was instructive too: we’ll each find our own “voice” for this prayer, without “trying” at all.

  2. Hi Jesse. I felt Elder Porphyrios was a suitable complement to this video, precisely because he is another who likes to speak not just of agape but also of eros, as Elder Joseph the Hesychast and his spiritual children do. You can hear that, I think, in Elder Ephraim’s voice, and in another way in Elder Joseph’s. There’s a tenderness and a longing and a direct address to Jesus that immediately delights.

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