'Pray continually,' Scripture exhorts. 'Do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus.'
Striving to obey, Christian monks of the East joined adoration and compunction in unceasing prayer. In the course of fourteen centuries, they developed what some have called 'the only perfect way of prayer', the Jesus Prayer: Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me (a sinner).'
How did the Jesus Prayer evolve? In this penetrating study, Irenee Hausherr examines the documents of the first millennium and a half of Christian tradition. In the first part, he recounts the names by which the faithful addressed their Lord. In the second, he traces from their writings the method of continual prayer taught and practised by eastern ascetics.
'Since I am a Christian,' he writes, 'nothing concerning Christ can leave me indifferent, least of all his names, because these are identical in a certain sense with his very person.'