This way of praying has been used by Christians for centuries as a way of cleansing and opening up the heart and mind to God.
I have found the following practice useful:
- When you first try out this way of praying, find a quiet space, free from distraction and a way of sitting that allows you to concentrate. However, after practising for some time, you may find that this approach to prayer becomes second nature and you can pray like this in all kinds of situations.
- Being by relaxing tour body and gently breathing in and out at your own pace.
- Commit the following phrase to memory: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me. (Some people find it meaningful or helpful to use a slightly longer phrase: Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner. I leave this as a matter for your own choice).
- Set a timer for two to three minutes.
- Say the phrase silently in your head. Adjust your breathing (slow it down if necessary) to fit the phrase in the following way:
IN: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God
OUT: Have mercy on me (a sinner).
- Concentrate on attentiveness to God – gently notice disruptive thoughts but let them “float on by” and don’t judge yourself for lapses in concentration. Simply return to your pattern of breathing and repeating the phrase in your head.