The Jesus Prayer
has been treasured in the Christian East ever since its birth in the desert, more than 1,500 years ago. Over the centuries, uncountable numbers of believers have come to know God's constant nearness by practicing this fluid, continual remembrance of Jesus' name.
At first the Jesus Prayer is just a string of words repeated, perhaps mechanically, in your mind. But with time it may "descend into the heart," and those who experience this will be attentive to maintain it, continually "bringing the mind into the heart."
"Prayer of the heart"
occurs when the Jesus Prayer moves from merely mental repitition, forced along by your own effort, to an effortless and spontaneous self-repitition of the Prayer that emanates from the core of your being, your heart. You will discover that the Holy Spirit has been there, praying, all along. Then heart and soul, body and mind, memory and will, the very breath of life itself, everything that you have and are unites in gratitude and joy, tuned like a violin string to the name of Jesus.
- Excerpted from "The Jesus Prayer: The Ancient Desert Prayer that Tunes the Heart to God" by Frederica Mathewes Green.
are a set of prayer beads much like a rosary. Sometimes called a Byzantine Rosary or Orthodox Prayer Rope, a Chotki is an Eastern Christian prayer rope on which the "Jesus Prayer" is prayed. Chotkis come in a variety of sizes--33, 50, 100 and 103 bead strings being most popular. Greek Komvoschinia (or Komboskini)
are usually made of knotted wool or "rattail", while the Byzantine Ruthenians of the Carpatho-Rusyn Mountains use strung wooden beads. Chotkis sometimes end in a tassel, said to be used to wipe away one's tears. See the History of Prayer Beads
page for information on how to pray the Chotki.
• 25 beads, with one decorative spacer bead above the cross.
• 33 beads, plus 3 spacer beads and 1 extra bead above the cross
• 50 beads, plus a spacer bead after the first 25, and another spacer above the cross
• 100 beads, including bead above cross, plus 4 spacer beads
• 101 beads, including bead above cross, plus 3 spacer beads
• 103 beads in Vervitsa configuration
• 103 beads with a divider every 10 beads, and a final three above the cross.
• wrist chotki
"Pater Noster" is Latin for "Our Father" and refers to the Lord's Prayer.
The Lord's Prayer occurs repeatedly in the Divine Office, as well
as being recited at both the beginning and the end. According to the Catholic
Encyclopedia, "In many monastic rules, it was enjoined that the lay brothers, who knew no Latin, instead
of the Divine Office should say the Lord's Prayer a certain number of times. To count the prayers, they made use of
pebbles or beads strung on a cord, and this prayer counter was commonly known as a "pater-noster",
a name which it retained even when this a string of beads was used to count, not Our Fathers,
but Hail Marys in reciting Our Lady's Psalter, or in other words in saying the rosary."
As the Paternoster
evolved, it began to look more and more like modern rosaries and chaplets, with varying numbers of beads, often divided into decades or sets of five or seven smaller beads with larger beads between. The term "paternoster" was used for all these prayer beads until eventually replaced by the word "rosary".