The most traditional Christian prayer in the world after the Our Father and the Hail Mary?

Sharing is caring!

Many believe it to be this – and it is incredibly simple and powerful

The Our Father and the Hail Mary are the basic pillars of the prayer life of every Christian who wants to be faithful to the Gospel. But there is another biblical prayer as powerful and traditional as these two.

It is the ” Prayer to Jesus, ” or ” Invocation to the Name of Jesus, ” an age-old prayer whose popularization was heavily influenced by the Desert Fathers. A first form of this prayer was mentioned by St. Diokon of Foticeia (sometimes quoted as Diadochos of Photiki), an ascetic monk of Greece in the early fifth century. The prayer was later inserted in the collection of spiritual texts known as Philokalia (or Philokalia) , which became a basic book of the Eastern Christian tradition.

The Invocation to the Name of Jesus became very popular in the Orthodox churches, particularly in Russia, where it was further spread by another classic of spiritual literature, Stories of a Russian Pilgrim , of the nineteenth century.

ore recently, this prayer has awakened a renewed devotion among Christians of various denominations.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church dedicates a few paragraphs to it:

2667 – This simple invocation of faith was developed in the tradition of prayer in the most varied forms, both in the East and in the West. The most usual formulation, conveyed by the spirituals of Sinai, Syria and Athos, is the invocation: ” Jesus Christ, Son of God, Lord, have mercy on us sinners! ‘. It conjugates the christological hymn of Phil 2: 6-11 with the invocation of the publican and the beggars of light. Through it, the heart tunes to the misery of men and the mercy of their Savior.

2668 – The invocation of the holy Name of Jesus is the simplest way of continuous prayer. Often repeated by a humbly attentive heart, it is not dispersed in a “sea of ​​words” (Mt 6, 7), but “keeps the Word and produces fruit by constancy”. And it is possible “in all time,” because it is not an occupation in conjunction with another, but it is the unique occupation, that of loving God, who animates and transfigures all action in Christ Jesus.

It is a powerful prayer, focused on reciting the name of Jesus . In some traditions, it is usually accompanied by chotki, a kind of prayer string that resembles a rosary, to count how many times the prayer is done.


Prayer to Jesus is still linked to a breathing technique that synchronizes words and body, since our whole being is called to unite with God in a complete way. Here is a description of this exercise by an orthodox bishop:

“The first part, ‘Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God’, is spoken while inspiring; already the second, “have mercy on me, a sinner,” while it expires. There are other possible methods: recitation can also be synchronized with heart beats.

It is a simple and rich tradition, focused on Jesus and His mercy.

These are some of several different ways of doing the same prayer:

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me!

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

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us sinners!

Jesus Christ, Son of God, Lord, have mercy on us sinners!

Lord Jesus, mercy!

Sharing is caring!

Articles like these are sponsored free for every Catholic through the support of generous readers just like you.

Help us continue to bring the Gospel to people everywhere through uplifting and transformative Catholic news, stories, spirituality, and more.

Support Catholic Letters with a gift today!

Photo of author


Catholic Letters
Official CatholicLetters Website Administrator.

Leave a Comment