A Jesus Prayer Bracelet (a.k.a. Chotki, Komboskini, or Prayer Rope)
What to Call Your Child's Mother-in-Law or Father-in-Law?
My son's mother-in-law gave me a really nice gift. But, before I go any further, it seems to me that there really should be some better way for me to refer to the lady who raised my sweet daughter-in-law ... anyone out there have a special name for this relationship? Co-Mothers? (sounds kind of cold) Sister-Mothers? (sounds a bit polygamist-ish) ...
A Byzantine Tradition
... anyways, my son's very nice mother-in-law gave me a lovely hand-tied Jesus Prayer bracelet. She and her husband are Byzantine Catholics and praying with these knotted ropes are a tradition in this rite of the Church. My bracelet has 33 knots (one knot for each year in the earthly life of Jesus) and you are supposed to say the Jesus Prayer on each knot. You can get longer Prayer Ropes ... with 50, 100, 150, or 300 knots as well (they are also referred to as Chotki and Komboskini).
The Jesus Prayer
I first learned of the Jesus Prayer through a neat book my father gave to me when I was in my 20s, The Way of a Pilgrim written by an anonymous Russian peasant from the 1800s. It shares of his journey to pray constantly by reciting ...
Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me!
... over and over and over and over ...
You can find other versions of this prayer, but this one is my favorite.
An Excerpt From "The Way of a Pilgrim"
When we entered his cell, the elder said, "The ceaseless Jesus Prayer is a continuous, uninterrupted call on the holy name of Jesus Christ with the lips, mind, and heart; and in the awareness of His abiding presence it is a plea for His blessing in all undertakings, in all places, at all times, even in sleep. The words of the Prayer are:
'Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me!'
Anyone who becomes accustomed to this Prayer will experience great comfort as well as the need to say it continuously."