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Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer: Experiencing the Presence of God and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of an Ancient Spirituality Hardcover – April 5, 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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From the Back Cover

For nearly two millennia, the holy menand women of Eastern Christianity havebuilt lives of reflection, humility, andconstant connection to God around asimple sentence, the Jesus Prayer. Now,Norris J. Chumley—a documentarian andprofessor—reveals the history, practices,and abiding wisdom of this mysticaltradition to the rest of the world.

Chumley traveled to some of the earlyChurch’s holiest sites with the VeryReverend Dr. John A. McGuckin, a priestand professor—to St. Anthony’s Monasteryin the Egyptian desert and St. Catherine’sMonastery on Mount Sinai, to convents inTransylvania and to monasteries in Russia,the Ukraine, and Greece—in search ofChristianity’s first mystical tradition andits modern-day practitioners. The monksand nuns he met taught him how to movethrough the stages of the Jesus Prayer, andhow it can foster an unceasing, and everdeepening,conversation with God.

Enriched with stunning color photographsof these holy sites, where photography israrely allowed, Mysteries of the Jesus Prayerreveals the powerful theology packed intothis prayer’s few words.

About the Author

Norris J. Chumley earned his doctorate from Union Theological Seminary. He is an internationally recognized author and film-maker, a Huffington Post contributing editor, an Emmy award winner, and the author of Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne (April 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061874175
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061874178
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #129,656 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
"Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner."

This is the Jesus Prayer, known and prayed most commonly in the Orthodox Church (though as one monk in the book points out, Jesus doesn't pray this prayer -- we pray this prayer to Jesus.)

It's very like the prayer of the tax collector in Luke 18, who stood at a distance in the temple and despaired of himself so that he could not even look up as he cried, "God, have mercy on me, a sinner."

In fact, many believe the tax collector's prayer is the very first version of the Jesus Prayer.

Norris and Father John McGuckin, a priest of the Orthodox Church, wrote "Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer: Experiencing the Presence of God and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of an Ancient Spirituality" as a travelogue and companion to the film documentary they shot on a spiritual pilgrimage to monasteries and convents in the Middle East, eastern Europe, and Asia. Their goal was to learn what they could about the origins and practice of this prayer and bring what they learned back to the West.

I have always been Protestant, and mostly a non-denominational Protestant, so I am unfamiliar with monasticism, icons, and ancient prayers.

I've also long been frustrated at my own restless impatience with prayer. I have this inability to be quiet and meditate on a verse or a truth, and an almost maddening urge to run away when other people's prayers go long. When I am the one praying, often my prayers sound stale, worn, mechanical, and focused on self and petty little things that won't matter in a day or a week.

This is a stark contrast to the prayers I read.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book, along with the DVD, is a breath of pure, fresh air. I have been saying the Jesus Prayer for about 10 years and have read just about every standard work on it. I just finished the book, and the DVD (sold separately) and I find them both inspiring and energizing - perfect complements to each other. Buy them. Read and watch. Blessings.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
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Format: Hardcover
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!
{The Jesus Prayer}

What if I filled silence with God instead of radio or television?

What if I united these moments of prayer and purposeful silence with the voices of those who have prayed the Jesus Prayer for the past 1,700 years?

Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"
{Luke 18:38}

What if instead of randomly clicking away on sleepless nights, I was awake to the Lord?

What if I choose not to speak because I was listening to God?

What if I fasted because the Word of God fed me?

I came away from my reading of Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer: Experiencing the Presence of God and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of an Ancient Spirituality with the same conclusion as the author,

"...we came away from our conversations with an overall sense that the Jesus Prayer can be a useful tool for anyone seeking a deeper spiritual life...what makes the Jesus Prayer so extraordinary is that its abundant graces are not limited to the monastic life...It can enrich the life of anyone who prays it faithfully and with concentration...the point is to add prayer into your existing routine, not to change your lifestyle in order to become a monk or monk like."

Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer: Experiencing the Presence of God and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of an Ancient Spirituality

I enjoyed the rich history woven throughout this book. Descriptions of far away lands and ancient practices were mesmerizing at times.
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Format: Hardcover
I both believe and observe that our culture yearns for direct experience, a feeling of connection with the Divine. As a (New Thought) Christian mystic and lifelong meditator, I won't settle for anything less myself. I see, feel and hear that same insistence becoming the norm. The old paradigm has become less satisfying as we are increasing aware of our thirst for real spiritual bliss. Perhaps we can discover hidden gifts as we explore really, really old time religion.

"Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer" really touched my core. After years of meditation and practices in several traditions, this book links the wisdom of mysticism with authentic Christianity; it's at the same time ancient yet in this moment and very useful. For those who feel disconnected, alienated or even angry with religion in general, and specifically with Christian churches, Dr. Norris Chumley brings us the direct and beautiful teachings of Jesus and the Holy Spirit in the words and actions of sages, saints and ascetics. Simple, yet deep; entertaining yet academic; historic but never boring -- I think you'll love this book and refer to it again and again.
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