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Lent: Day Twenty-Seven

By March 11, 2016Formation, lent2016

Luke 18:18-43
A certain ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; Honor your father and mother.’” He replied, “I have kept all these since my youth.” When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “There is still one thing lacking. Sell all that you own and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” But when he heard this, he became sad; for he was very rich. Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” He replied, “What is impossible for mortals is possible for God.” Then Peter said, “Look, we have left our homes and followed you.” And he said to them, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not get back very much more in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.”

Then he took the twelve aside and said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. For he will be handed over to the Gentiles; and he will be mocked and insulted and spat upon. After they have flogged him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise again.” But they understood nothing about all these things; in fact, what he said was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.

As he approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard a crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” Then he shouted, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Those who were in front sternly ordered him to be quiet; but he shouted even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stood still and ordered the man to be brought to him; and when he came near, he asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me see again.” Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has saved you.” Immediately he regained his sight and followed him, glorifying God; and all the people, when they saw it, praised God.

In Eastern Christianity (and by this I mean Russian Orthodoxy, Greek Orthodoxy, etc.) one of the most celebrated prayers is called “The Jesus Prayer.” The prayer, in it’s entirety is simply: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.”

In the classic book, “The Way of the Pilgrim,” a man travels the Russian countryside to find an answer to what St. Paul meant when he said to “pray unceasingly.” (I Thessalonians 5:17) How do you pray unceasingly? The answer he found, and that millions of Orthodox Christians have found, is this simple prayer. They pray it hundreds, if not thousands of times a day, rhythmically – and sometimes with the help of an orthodox rosary of beads – until the prayer becomes as integral a part of daily life as breathing.

The second part of this much celebrated prayer comes from the supplication of the blind beggar in Luke 18. He asks not for healing, or for riches, or even for the joys of heaven. He simply asks for mercy. And with this prayer his sight is restored.

Take some time today and sit with this prayer. This prayer that has been prayed by countless Christians before us, and which countless Christians across the world are praying right now. Use this prayer, and with the posture of the blind beggar, ask Christ for mercy, that you may see what it is that God wants you to see.

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

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