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Not by Our Effort Alone

We must remember that attaining prayer in the heart through the use of the Jesus prayer does require our effort. But it cannot be realized without the help of divine grace. Saints Kallistus and Ignatius advise us that the labor of mental prayer is “accomplished by the mind and through the single-thought, heartfelt, pure, unwandering invocation with faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, and not through the one, mere natural art… of sitting in a quiet and dark place with practicing the prayer--God forbid!” (On the Prayer of Jesus. p 76) Methods we use are only to help us stop the wandering of the mind and bring it to attentiveness on God.

Saint Ignatius Brianchaninov says,

Let us practice the prayer of Jesus disinterestedly, with simplicity and purity of intention, with penitence as our objective, with faith in God, with complete surrender to the will of God, with hope and trust in the wisdom, goodness and omnipotence of His holy will….

Let us not seek pleasures or visions… Let us seek to turn the gaze of our mind within ourselves our sinfulness. When we discover it,let us stand mentally before our Lord Jesus Christ in the company of lepers, the blind, the deaf, the lame, the paralyzed, the possessed; and let us begin our mournful cry of prayer before Him from the poverty of our spirit and from a heart crushed with sorrow for our sinfulness. (On the Prayer of Jesus, p 102-103)