Jesus - His Most Holy Name
From apostolic times the name of Jesus has been treated with the greatest respect, as an honour to Our Lord himself. This Holy Name is explicitly exalted by Saint Paul in his Letter to the Philippians saying, ‘God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.’ (Philippians 2:9-11).
In the New Testament the name of Jesus is invoked to drive out devils, cure illnesses, and perform miracles. And the Lord himself tells us that there is power in his own name saying, ‘If you ask the Father anything in my name he will give it you’ (John 16:23).
But where does it come from? The name Jesus derived from the Aramaic “Yeshu”. It means “YWH is salvation” or “God saves”. The Archangel Gabriel said to Mary, ‘You will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High’ (Luke 1:31-32). And an angel said to Joseph in a dream ‘She [Mary] will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’ (Matt 1:21). So, from the very beginning of the New Testament the Scriptures tells us that Jesus is our Saviour and that there is salvation in his Most Holy Name.
Besides the devotions listed on this website, one simple act of reverence towards the name of Our Lord is to gently bow our heads when this is mentioned in prayer, reading the Scriptures, and during church services. You may have seen priests uncovering their heads at a mention of the Holy Name in the liturgy for the same reason.
The Jesus Prayer
The Jesus Prayer is an ancient form of prayer that originated in the Orthodox Church. There are many different variations of it but they all contains to basic elements; invocation of the Holy Name of the Lord and repetition.
Relentless practice of the Jesus Prayer will train an individual to seek, invoke and love God everywhere. After a little practice, this simple prayer can be offered whilst working, walking, doing one’s duties. Indeed, the aim of the prayer is to fulfil St Paul’s invitation to the Christians of Thessalonica to ’pray without ceasing’ (1Thess 5:17).
Choose one variation of the Jesus Prayer. The first one listed below is the prayer of Bartimaeus, the blind man who persistently called to Jesus to cure him in Mark 10:46-52. After this, repeat the prayer quietly and calmly for ten minutes. As you pray, you may synchronise your breathing to your words; “Jesus, Son of David” (inhale), “have mercy on me!” (exhale). Do no count how many times you repeat the prayer but focus your mind on Jesus and on what whish to pray for. Increase the time of prayer by five minutes every few days, until you get to thirty minutes.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Variations of the Jesus Prayer:
Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me! (from Mark 10:47)
Jesus, Son of the living God, have mercy on me!
Jesus, Son of the living God, have mercy on me, a sinner!
Jesus, have mercy on me!
End your prayer time with
You do not need anything else. If you wish, you can use some rosary beads moving along each bead as you say the prayer. Alternatively, you can look for a prayer rope specifically made for the Jesus Prayer online or in good Christian bookshops.