Glory to God for All Things

Prayer and the Name of Jesus

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From Archimandrite Sophrony’s On Prayer.

The Name Jesus as knowledge, as ‘energy’ of God in relation to the world and as His proper Name, is ontologiclly bound up with Him. It is spiritual reality. Its sound can merge with its reality but not necessarily so. As a name it was given to many mortal men but when we pray we utter it with another content, another ‘frame’ of spirit. For us it is the bridge between us and Him. It is the canal along which the streams of divine strength flow to us. As proceeding from the Holy God it is holy and it hallows us by its invocation. With this Name and thorugh it prayer acquires a certain tangibleness: it unites us with God. In it, this Name, God is present like a scent-flask full of fragrance. Through it, the Celestial One can be sensed imminently. As divine energy it proceeds from the Substance of Divinity and is divine itself.

Many years ago before college, I lived with a friend who was a wonderful Christian. We were quite poor but embraced a lifestyle centered in the Gospel. We had no phone, no radio, no television. I owned about six books. It was truly a peaceful place and time. One night as we were going to sleep, my friend began calling out the names for Christ in Scripture. “Lamb of God,” “Lion of the Tribe of Judah,” etc. It quickly became a contest of sorts. He would say one, and I would say another. With every invocation the peace of God became greater. I think of those as the most peaceful nights I ever knew. The name of Jesus is indeed, “Honey in the rock.”

Today, the Akathist to the Sweetest Lord Jesus, does much the same. I commend it to you.

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