By Rick Hamlin
The Jesus Prayer
Years ago when I was looking for some help with my prayer life, someone I could get together with regularly, a name popped into my mind.
Arthur Caliandro was then the senior minister at Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan. “Talk to Arthur,” was the insistent thought. But he’s so busy, I told myself. He runs a big church. He doesn’t have time to get together with me. “Talk to him anyway,” the inner nagging continued.
I could ignore it only at my peril. Finally I called him up. “Arthur,” I said, “I know you’re really busy, but I could use some guidance in prayer...”
“Let’s have lunch,” he said.
We did. And we’ve kept up those lunches for 18 years.
At that very first lunch he gave me an incredible gift and the only way I can repay him is to pass it along. “Do you ever use the Jesus Prayer?” he asked.
“What is it?” I asked.
“It comes from the Bible,” he said, “at least the core of it: Jesus Christ, have mercy on me a sinner is in the parable of the Pharisee and tax collector. I also add to it: Make haste to help me. Rescue me and save me. Let thy will be done in my life. It’s short, easy to learn and you can pray it anywhere. I myself must pray those words dozens of times a day.”
That prayer has been my constant companion ever since. I’ve said it silently in hospital rooms, doctors’ offices, conference rooms during busy meetings, moments when fear became stronger than home, times when love and direction were hard to find.
It’s a way of recalibrating, taking the essentials of faith and holding on to them. And once you learn it, you can use it whenever you need a prayer to bring you back to God and the values you hold dear.
Here it is: Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner. Make haste to help me. Rescue me and save me. Let thy will be done in my life. Use it as often as you want. Don’t thank me for it. Thank my friend Arthur.