He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Matthew 16:15-16
And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” Luke 18:13
For many years followers have combined the essence of these beautiful verses into a simple prayer that is repeated to quiet the mind and fill the inner-most life with unceasing prayer.
“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, be merciful to me a sinner.”
Some shorten the prayer further to fit a breathing pattern so that with literally every inhaled breath they silently breathe in “Lord Jesus Christ,” and then, with every exhale is the silent plea, “have mercy on me.”
The Jesus Prayer is the subject of a little book called “The Way of a Pilgrim” (author unknown), about a Russian peasant who longed to know what was meant by the brief biblical admonition to “Pray without ceasing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17. A verse that had captured his attention in a sermon but that wasn’t explained in a way that he could understand.
His journey will inspire you, but more importantly, possibly lead you to the same question and quest. Here is a starting point:
(inhale) “Lord Jesus Christ” (exhale) “have mercy on me.”
Repeat as often as you think about it until you are repeating it without thinking about it. It may take a while, but eventually, your declaration of the Lordship of Christ over your life, and your humble plea for mercy will become the prayer of your heart.