the Word that proceeds from silence

For the divinely inspired prophets lived in expectation of Jesus Christ, and therefore were inspired by His grace so that unbelievers might be convinced that there is one God, Who has displayed Himself through Jesus Christ His Son, Who is His Word that proceeds from silence, Who in all respects, was pleasing to Him that sent Him.

– from the Letter of the Holy Martyr and Hierarch St. Ignatius of Antioch to the Magnesians

 “Rejoice always, pray constantly.”

– 1st Letter of St. Paul to the Thessalonians

And so the Holy Fathers of the Eastern Orthodox Church recommend the following prayer for increasingly frequent usage (toward the Divine gift of constancy) as a means of stilling our restless minds and dwelling in continual repentance and Divine silence:

“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

 (or Lord Jesus, have mercy on me, etc.; no rules against variation)

I have recently read an excellent blog entry on Beliefnet’s “Crunchy Con: Conservative politics and religion with Rod Dreher” (a Dallas journalist and an Orthodox Christian). He writes of stillness, calmness, healing, and the Jesus Prayer. He relates the value of these dispositions and this prayer to his son, who struggles with a sensory processing disorder:

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I was talking with a visiting friend about the sensory processing disorder that my oldest son struggles with, and that a surprising number of kids we know have. I suggested that perhaps human beings aren’t evolutionarily prepared to be in a modern environment, with so many stimuli bearing in on us constantly.   . . . .

For the rest, click on

And here, reprinted from October 2007, are two accounts of persons with disabilities practicing the Jesus Prayer, with two articles on the use of the prayer as well:

from the Very Reverend John Breck: On Silence and Stillness

“Most of us are familiar with the 19th century account entitled “The Way of a Pilgrim,” & “The Pilgrim Continues His Way.” Here an anonymous Russian pilgrim, physically handicapped and with only the most rudimentary education, undertakes a voyage of the heart that will lead him step by step toward the heavenly Jerusalem. His journey is marked by numerous encounters with all sorts of people, several of whom initiate him into the practice of the Jesus Prayer. In the Church’s ascetic tradition, that prayer is progressively purified, becoming, in rare and privileged cases, “pure prayer” (kathera proseuchê) or “prayer of the heart.” As many within that tradition have described it, repetition of the name of Jesus begins with the lips, gradually passes to the mind in a spontaneous outpouring, and finally descends with the mind into the heart, the spiritual center of our being. The hesychast tradition therefore invites us to “stand before God with the mind in the heart,” to offer Him intercession, thanksgiving, praise and glorification day and night, without ceasing.” . . . .

For the rest: 

  Also, from Beliefnet: Therapy in Christ, message 4 of 8:

2/2/2002 1:10 AM
4 out of 8
Boy can I empathize with you! I’m disabled at 55 but recovering more and more each day as I practice having a thankful heart. And I, too, find the very best rest and therapy in Jesus, imagining myself being carried like a little lamb close to His chest and listening to His heartbeat. And I’ve been through situations that are just horrendous, so we WONT describe them. Still, I remember that text that says the a spirit of fear doesn’t come from God but of boldness (I forget now, darn it) and it ends with a SOUND MIND. And I thank God for these things. And I thank Him for leading me and loving me and guiding me. And I try to Practice His Presence like Brother Lawrence all day and all night long wherever I go, wherever I am. Yes, I try to submit to His will in every situation and be His loving presence to those around me even if I don’t say one word about Him to them. And if I think of myself as someone He can use when maybe He doesn’t have too many others to use, I don’t care so much whether I look foolish or wise to the other people. I’m just glad He used me to do something for Him.And there’s one pearl of great price that has helped me to do this more consistently than anything else so I will share it with you. Yes, I’ll offer the most priceless pearl I’ve found in the 33 years since I converted to the Eastern Orthodox Church because I believed in the Spirit that I had found a viable link, the real successor to the churches that formed around the Apostles right after Pentecost and under St. Paul during his missionary trips.This pearl is the Jesus Prayer after the saying of Blind Bartimaeus who cried out “Jesus, Son of David have mercy on me.” And the version used for centuries is “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Repeating this prayer in the morning and trying to remember HIM all day long changes the day and changes me.” It reminds me that He’s always with me.
It allows me to murmur His Holy Name in the depths of my being like the Name of my Spouse as I’m dreaming of Him or caressing Him. And it enflames my soul with love for Him. (What more could I ask?)Then this love transforms me, because He is the only one who loves. I will always be learning and desiring to learn because He first loved me. This is the only way I know to increase my desire to submit all that I am and have to Him, My Beloved, My Savior, My Yeshua, My Jesus, My Christ, My King, My Lord and My God.For a more complete explanation of this prayer go to
Respectfully submitted,
judy, the wounded sinner who’s so in love with Jesus

The Jesus prayer does not require an extra measure of intelligence to be practiced effectively; in fact, living “in the head,” it is said, is a hindrance to acquiring the prayer of the heart, our goal. Most people with developmental disability could apply themselves to this practice profitably, “sowing to the Spirit,” as St. Paul says in chapter 6 of his letter to the Galatians. In fact, I would be interested in hearing stories along that line. Please comment!

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1 Response to “the Word that proceeds from silence”

  1. 1 elinorloewen January 8, 2009 at 12:24 PM

    I bookmarked your blog, thanks for sharing this very interesting post


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