Very excited about the prayer rope I just bought from easternchristian.com. I prayed the “Jesus Prayer” for the first time late last night, sitting upright in my hammock outside. It was pretty awesome. So much meaning packed into so few and simple words. Amazing that Christians worldwide have been doing these kind of things for centuries, and only recently have Protestants rediscovered their value. (that’s the whole “protest” part of being a Protestant.)
For anyone who knows me relatively well, you may have heard me mention my own struggles in the last 9 months or so with “acts of personal piety,” which for my background, usually consisted solely of reading the Bible for 15 minutes a day. While there’s nothing wrong with this, I have always struggled with keeping focus, and I began to question why I was doing such things in the first place. Out of obligation? To be filled with “warm fuzzies about Jesus”? On top of all this, going to seminary had made it very difficult to open up any part of the scriptures and NOT analyze it to death. Being given new tools to analyze scripture has been a phenomenal gift and learning tool, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything, but it has put a sizeable damper on my prayer life.
So, despite my fears of becoming too “gimmicky” and trying too hard to be cool (which I do enough of already), I am beginning to creep into the roots of our faith, kept alive today by the Orthodox tradition. We’ll see how this goes. What will be next? Icons? Creed recitation? Ignatian Examen? Longer Retreat? All of those sound really attractive to me right now… for now, I’m dipping my toe in the water.