Tiny Practice: Saying the Jesus Prayer

The Jesus Prayer was preached frequently by Dr. Arthur Caliandro, Senior Minister of Marble Collegiate Church from 1984 to 2009 when he retired.   It recently came back into my life when Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer was aired on PBS, which re-sparked my interest in it and Arthur’s teachings.  Subsequently, two written sermons that were distributed at Marble, and include the Prayer, were re-discovered at home; a third, with Arthur preaching, was listened to (refer to resources at the end).  The first two sermons use the same version of the Prayer with the focus on the person praying and is only printed under the first sermon.  The focus of the third sermon is on another person in need of prayer and the Prayer is printed again.       

The Prayer is now included in my regular devotion time; and is helping me sit quietly on a daily basis and trust God to bring into my life what I need, in God’s time.  Which makes me wonder: why now when I’m retired and not when I was younger, and struggling with so many issues?  Some now resolved; others, on-going;  and a few new ones have surfaced after getting re-acquainted with the Prayer.  I’m looking forward to where I’m led and what comes into my life during Covid-19 and retirement.  What new song will I sing?

Sermon:  Trust God and Let Go of It

Arthur preached that the Prayer is an ancient Christian practice and is very powerful as it invokes Jesus’ name.  For a period of time, it was Arthur’s morning prayer when he was:

  • Searching for direction while trying to articulate his needs to God;
  • Trying to surrender his wants and needs to God;
  • Seeking to find out what God would have Arthur do with his life. 

Over time, Arthur found that by saying the Prayer, it became like his breathing and he discovered he no longer had faith crises, “. . . because I found myself trusting God and my life began to straighten itself out.  There was a mini-resurrection.  When we dare enough to trust God with our lives, God takes us through and resurrects us.”  In other words, “God has all the help we need.” 

Jesus Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.

Make haste to help me.

Rescue me and save me.

Do your will in my life. 

According to Arthur, the last line is the foundation, the strength, the power of the Prayer.

Sermon:  the 23rd Psalm

After several years, Arthur noticed his morning prayer life was changing; he was interchanging The Prayer with the Lord’s Prayer, which is central in many religious traditions.  Both felt right for him, so he continued interchanging them. 

Sermon: Hope Made Real,

This sermon may have been Arthur’s last Easter Sermon.  He preached it  after one of his sons died suddenly and he did something he had never done before; he prayed the Prayer for his son, Chuck, for more than a year – over and over until he felt, “Chuck had passed over to the other side.” 

Jesus Prayer

Lord: Jesus Christ, have mercy on Chuck.

Make haste to help him.

Rescue him and save him.

Do your will in his life.



The following sermons can be found on https://www.marblechurch.org/watch/videos?category=2&preacher=27

  • Sermon: Trust God and Let Go of It
  • Sermon: Praying the 23rd Psalm (Lord’s Prayer), May 22, 2005
  • Sermon: Hope Made Real, April 16, 2006 Marble Vision Sermon Vol. 0407

Shared by Karen Reynolds

2 responses to “Tiny Practice: Saying the Jesus Prayer”

  1. Thank you Karen for reminding us of this powerful prayer. Especially during this time, may I remember that God’s mercies are new each and every morning for us all. Blessings!

  2. Thank you for your words. After being introduced to this prayer, it has become the first part of my prayer practice. Thank you for including information about the sermons that are connected to this prayer.

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