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Variations on the Jesus Prayer and using the prayer rope

Ortho_cat

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I have a question and am curious if anyone has heard of doing this before.

Lately when i've been saying the Jesus prayer, i usually do it before I go to bed (it's convenient and I remember because my prayer rope is besides my bed.)

The other day I was praying, and i found myself saying variations of the Jesus prayer. For example:

Lord have mercy
Lord Jesus have mercy
Lord have mercy on me a sinner
Christ have mercy
Lord Jesus have mercy
Son of God have mercy on me
etc. etc.

And I would sometimes say the whole prayer (beginning and end especially). I just say which part comes to my mind at the time. For some reason I like doing it this way, it provides for variety and spontaneity (keeps my mind engaged in praying), and it helps me focus on individual parts of the prayer. Has anyone else tried this or heard of praying like this?

 

augustin717

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my neighbors say i  become a flame of fire when i pray :angel:
 

augustin717

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in the beginning they used to call the fire dept. now i just inform adt beforehand
 

augustin717

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Not yet. R u trying to tell us u r pious? We know it. The best place to wield the prayer rope is church though. The uncreated energies are denser there.
 

Ortho_cat

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augustin717 said:
Not yet. R u trying to tell us u r pious? We know it. The best place to wield the prayer rope is church though. The uncreated energies are denser there.
i'm just trying to get a serious answer to a serious question...better go check on those drinks ::)
 

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I remember reading in a couple places that changing up the prayer frequently is not a good idea. A tree frequently transplanted never takes root or something like that.
 

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I suspect augustin717 is an atheist. Disregard him.

Yes, you can extemporize on the Jesus Prayer:

Lord Jesus Christ,
Son of the the Living God,
[Who did ... ]
Have mercy on Me, a Sinner.
 

Punch

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Ortho_cat said:
I have a question and am curious if anyone has heard of doing this before.

Lately when i've been saying the Jesus prayer, i usually do it before I go to bed (it's convenient and I remember because my prayer rope is besides my bed.)

The other day I was praying, and i found myself saying variations of the Jesus prayer. For example:

Lord have mercy
Lord Jesus have mercy
Lord have mercy on me a sinner
Christ have mercy
Lord Jesus have mercy
Son of God have mercy on me
etc. etc.

And I would sometimes say the whole prayer (beginning and end especially). I just say which part comes to my mind at the time. For some reason I like doing it this way, it provides for variety and spontaneity (keeps my mind engaged in praying), and it helps me focus on individual parts of the prayer. Has anyone else tried this or heard of praying like this?
No.  But that does not mean anything.  Prayer is between you and God.  If this is how your sould wants to talk to its creator, then let it.  I am not really sure that there is just one way to pray this prayer.  In a prayer, are we not really just using human words (which God does not need) to express what is in our soul?  If the feeling is there, does the sequence of words that we use really matter?  Personally, I do not think so.  But that is just my opinion.
 

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Iconodule said:
I remember reading in a couple places that changing up the prayer frequently is not a good idea. A tree frequently transplanted never takes root or something like that.
I, too, have read in several places that mixing the words up often according to our whims is generally unhelpful. It's better to lock down on one version of the prayer so that one can become more and more still, silent, and watchful, and so that the prayer can eventually become like a "murmuring stream", so to speak. Otherwise, from my limited understanding, we'll be too tempted to switch it up all of the time, which is just letting the mind play around and avoiding true stillness.
 

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You need to talk to your Spiritual Father about it. I mean how come you haven't settled this already? It's not common to ask left and right about things that have to do with Obedience. I could give you some answers, but it's not the outward part of your question that draws my attention, but why you are going about finding this kind of answer in such a manner. The Spiritual Father that is in charge of you should have known that you don't know what in the world you are doing.
 

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IoanC said:
You need to talk to your Spiritual Father about it. I mean how come you haven't settled this already? It's not common to ask left and right about things that have to do with Obedience. I could give you some answers, but it's not the outward part of your question that draws my attention, but why you are going about finding this kind of answer in such a manner. The Spiritual Father that is in charge of you should have known that you don't know what in the world you are doing.
ouch...I was just wondering if such a thing was ever heard of. He told me I could say the Jesus prayer and some daily prayers, he didn't go into detail. I don't even say my daily prayers consistently, so i figured its better to say the Jesus Prayer than nothing at all. I was doing it like normal, but just started doing this to keep my mind active and I found it helpful. Is that so bad?
 

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Ok, then find a version of The Prayer that you like most, and it's the most simple, so that you can say easily. It's important that you get this figured out and stick to it from there on because the formula of the prayer is not the most important part. Neither is the pace/frequency, nor the length of the cycle itself.  Say when you can for how long you can. It is the calling of Name of Jesus that is most important. We are called to pray unceasingly, though; that is to be present before God at all times, even if we don't recite a prayer. This again is more important than any prayer because it is the permanent communion with God that we are after -- or the acquisition of The Grace of The Holy Spirit (Uncreated Energies). We don't stop, until we get there. :) Let me know when/if you have more question about this.
 

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sainthieu said:
I suspect augustin717 is an atheist. Disregard him.
I suspect augustin717 is a Holy Fool. Approach with caution.
 

Punch

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IoanC said:
You need to talk to your Spiritual Father about it. I mean how come you haven't settled this already? It's not common to ask left and right about things that have to do with Obedience. I could give you some answers, but it's not the outward part of your question that draws my attention, but why you are going about finding this kind of answer in such a manner. The Spiritual Father that is in charge of you should have known that you don't know what in the world you are doing.
That may work in countries where you have had to have other people think for you and tell you what to do for generations.  However, it is not the culture of this country or its people.  We do not run to some "spiritual father" with every little question that we have.
 

Asteriktos

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Regarding the OP, given that there is no single Jesus Prayer, but a lot of variations around the same basic idea, I don't see a problem.

Punch said:
That may work in countries where you have had to have other people think for you and tell you what to do for generations.  However, it is not the culture of this country or its people.  We do not run to some "spiritual father" with every little question that we have.
I was going to make a political joke about a portly radio commentator, but I suppose I'd run afoul of the mods if I did...
 

trevor72694

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I'm giving you my own opinion, because Augustin's silliness is giving me a headache, so I didn't bother to read the rest of the responses.

Prayer is 100% between God and you.  The Church has prayers, such as the Prayer of the Heart, which help us in relation to Him.

Personally, I find saying "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have mercy on me, a sinner." 100x on my prayer rope to lose it's meaning after a while. 

This is what I say:  "Lord Jesus, forgive me, the sinner."  I'll break it down:

Lord Jesus: Because, obviously, we're praying to the Lord.  But there is something in the name of Jesus.  When I say or hear the name "Jesus", I'm put in a prayerful and reflective state of mind.  Repeating His name intensifies this during prayer.  I've also read that there is nothing the demons fear more than the name of our Lord.

Forgive me:  Because, personally, "have mercy on me" looses meaning with me after a bit.  If I have sins in mind, I don't just say "have mercy", I ask for forgiveness.  I understand that both phrases could mean the same thing, but for me it's easier to contemplate while asking for forgiveness.  I guess this boils down to me being more comfortable with the way the words feel in my mouth.  It's like wearing comfy shoes at liturgy, it's just better overall...

The sinner:  This is not so much a variation of the original, but I say the sinner, because I am the sinner.  When I say "a sinner...", it makes me feel like I'm numbering myself among everyone else as a sinner.  I am praying because I have sins I need forgiveness and compassion with.  If I identify myself only in this way, I feel like I'm going to the police and turning myself in or something.  I sin, me me me.  It is easier for me to pray in this way.
 

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Punch said:
IoanC said:
You need to talk to your Spiritual Father about it. I mean how come you haven't settled this already? It's not common to ask left and right about things that have to do with Obedience. I could give you some answers, but it's not the outward part of your question that draws my attention, but why you are going about finding this kind of answer in such a manner. The Spiritual Father that is in charge of you should have known that you don't know what in the world you are doing.
That may work in countries where you have had to have other people think for you and tell you what to do for generations.  However, it is not the culture of this country or its people.  We do not run to some "spiritual father" with every little question that we have.
Hows that worked out for you all, so far?


O/P--JUST follow the prayer as directed for centuries. We have a few variations, pick one and stick to it. What makes you think you know better then all before you?  ???
 

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Nikolaostheservant said:
Punch said:
IoanC said:
You need to talk to your Spiritual Father about it. I mean how come you haven't settled this already? It's not common to ask left and right about things that have to do with Obedience. I could give you some answers, but it's not the outward part of your question that draws my attention, but why you are going about finding this kind of answer in such a manner. The Spiritual Father that is in charge of you should have known that you don't know what in the world you are doing.
That may work in countries where you have had to have other people think for you and tell you what to do for generations.  However, it is not the culture of this country or its people.  We do not run to some "spiritual father" with every little question that we have.
Hows that worked out for you all, so far?


O/P--JUST follow the prayer as directed for centuries. We have a few variations, pick one and stick to it. What makes you think you know better then all before you?  ???
I agree with what you say.  But I think it's important to keep in mind that the Jesus Prayer has been translated into so many languages over the centuries that we can't treat the most popular English version as an exact translation from the first time the prayer was spoken.  As long as the meaning is there, the prayer is there  :)
 

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Just thoughts...


psalm 84[85] :10 Sahil ware'et terakeba
Ts'edeq waSelam te'se'ama

Loving-Kindness(Mercy) and truth have met,
Righteousness and peace have kissed


Mercy then is a movement towards the other motivated and driven by Love, it is a profoundly deep and beautiful term. I like the above verse a lot, not only for what it states( for the combination of the terms used and how they combine have their own meaning I wont go into now) but also the  tense it uses to express the movement of the above toward one another in an erotic ecstasy of divine union.  this erotic union between the Lover and the Beloved it says: "it is now! it already is!" as is the Kingdom of God. 
:)
 

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sainthieu said:
I suspect augustin717 is an atheist. Disregard him.

Yes, you can extemporize on the Jesus Prayer:

Lord Jesus Christ,
Son of the the Living God,
[Who did ... ]
Have mercy on Me, a Sinner.
No, it's just that I'm not an angliochian. That's mostly it.
 

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augustin717 said:
sainthieu said:
I suspect augustin717 is an atheist. Disregard him.

Yes, you can extemporize on the Jesus Prayer:

Lord Jesus Christ,
Son of the the Living God,
[Who did ... ]
Have mercy on Me, a Sinner.
No, it's just that I'm not an angliochian. That's mostly it.
let's not cast stones, guys ::)
 

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Nikolaostheservant said:
Punch said:
IoanC said:
You need to talk to your Spiritual Father about it. I mean how come you haven't settled this already? It's not common to ask left and right about things that have to do with Obedience. I could give you some answers, but it's not the outward part of your question that draws my attention, but why you are going about finding this kind of answer in such a manner. The Spiritual Father that is in charge of you should have known that you don't know what in the world you are doing.
That may work in countries where you have had to have other people think for you and tell you what to do for generations.  However, it is not the culture of this country or its people.  We do not run to some "spiritual father" with every little question that we have.
Hows that worked out for you all, so far?


O/P--JUST follow the prayer as directed for centuries. We have a few variations, pick one and stick to it. What makes you think you know better then all before you?  ???
Well i am sticking with the Jesus prayer, i am just emphasizing different parts of it. As i said before (and agree with Trevor), it just starts to lose its meaning to me if repeat it the same everytime, (my mind wanders) and it keeps me engaged in the prayer. Perhaps i'm not using it to cultivate constant interior prayer the way some do, but I am still saying the Jesus prayer.
 

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Ortho_cat said:
I have a question and am curious if anyone has heard of doing this before.

Lately when i've been saying the Jesus prayer, i usually do it before I go to bed (it's convenient and I remember because my prayer rope is besides my bed.)

The other day I was praying, and i found myself saying variations of the Jesus prayer. For example:

Lord have mercy
Lord Jesus have mercy
Lord have mercy on me a sinner
Christ have mercy
Lord Jesus have mercy
Son of God have mercy on me
etc. etc.

And I would sometimes say the whole prayer (beginning and end especially). I just say which part comes to my mind at the time. For some reason I like doing it this way, it provides for variety and spontaneity (keeps my mind engaged in praying), and it helps me focus on individual parts of the prayer. Has anyone else tried this or heard of praying like this?
I have not heard such a practice recommended by any of our saints or fathers.  Of course, it would be best to discuss this specific question with a monastic who has had extensive experience praying the Jesus Prayer and who is deeply rooted in the prayer and in the writings of the Fathers on this subject.  In the absence of such guidance, it would be best to read a notable patristic book on the subject of the Jesus Prayer, with particular attention given to advice that is specifically intended for those in the world, such as the following article by a faithful disciple of Elder Joseph the Hesychast:

http://www.orthodoxprayer.org/Articles_files/Joseph%20of%20Vatopaidi-Prayer%20of%20Heart.html

It is true that saying the same phrase can become mechanical, and that the prayer should be said with attention and inner feeling, but to constantly pray whatever prayer comes into your mind would seem to cater too much to our variable thoughts and feelings, whereas the repetition of the same prayer becomes something like an anchor that keeps us firmly rooted and able to resist the variable thoughts and feelings, stirred up by our passions or the demons, that crash against our feeble minds attempting to hijack our attention and desire.

With regard to the repetition of one prayer becoming mechanical, I have read some fathers recommend pausing briefly between each prayer, and if the prayer is said somewhat with your breath, to hold your breath slightly between repetitions.  Sometimes, after a few ropes saying “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me”, one rope will be said with “Most Holy Theotokos, save us.”  An example of a slightly more variable form of the prayer is the Rule known as the “Optina 500”:

http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/cellrule.aspx

It is commonly recommended prior to praying with the prayer rope to reflect deeply on our sinfulness, how death can come at any moment, how the demons will try to claim our souls at the time of death to drag us to Hell, how little virtue we have within us, how far we are from repentance, etc.  These thoughts bring contrition and humility which fertilize and nourish our heart so that the hard seeds of repetitive prayer can break open and produce a fruitful spiritual harvest.  When our hearts are not humble, repetitive prayer may seem like casting stones uselessly on a hard and unreceptive ground.

These are a few things I recall from books, hopefully correctly.   
 

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With regard to the repetition of one prayer becoming mechanical, I have read some fathers recommend pausing briefly between each prayer, and if the prayer is said somewhat with your breath, to hold your breath slightly between repetitions.  Sometimes, after a few ropes saying “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me”, one rope will be said with “Most Holy Theotokos, save us.”  An example of a slightly more variable form of the prayer is the Rule known as the “Optina 500”:
I would like to hear more about this. I have in fact been doing this as well. For example, after saying the Jesus Prayer, I might say:

"Christ our God have mercy upon us and save us"

"Most Holy Theotokos save us"

"The Father is my hope,  the Son if my refuge, the Holy Spirit is my protector, all Holy Trinity, glory to Thee"

Are there any other prayers which could be interspersed between the Jesus prayer repetitions?

Also, I was wondering if anyone regards this is an acceptable form of the Jesus Prayer:

"Lord Jesus Christ Son of God have mercy upon us and save us"

I really like this "variation" and wonder if such is an acceptable form. Also, does anyone know why we typically use "me" in the Jesus prayer instead of the more inclusive"us"?
 

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Ortho_cat said:
With regard to the repetition of one prayer becoming mechanical, I have read some fathers recommend pausing briefly between each prayer, and if the prayer is said somewhat with your breath, to hold your breath slightly between repetitions.  Sometimes, after a few ropes saying “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me”, one rope will be said with “Most Holy Theotokos, save us.”  An example of a slightly more variable form of the prayer is the Rule known as the “Optina 500”:
I would like to hear more about this. I have in fact been doing this as well. For example, after saying the Jesus Prayer, I might say:

"Christ our God have mercy upon us and save us"

"Most Holy Theotokos save us"

"The Father is my hope,  the Son if my refuge, the Holy Spirit is my protector, all Holy Trinity, glory to Thee"

Are there any other prayers which could be interspersed between the Jesus prayer repetitions?

Also, I was wondering if anyone regards this is an acceptable form of the Jesus Prayer:

"Lord Jesus Christ Son of God have mercy upon us and save us"

I really like this "variation" and wonder if such is an acceptable form. Also, does anyone know why we typically use "me" in the Jesus prayer instead of the more inclusive"us"?
you are thinking too much when you do it your way! the point is to become one with the prayer and god, you CAN NOT do this if you are in the back of your mind deciding which variant or prayer you want to say next or wondering if you missed out on a step in the sequence. This is a mistake, do not do it. speek to a monk for advice.
you want to always be doing the exact same every time. note: i say this specifically for you, not others. I say it because you keep pushing the point (i say this with respect not to be mean) you want to be in "control"--stop it! other forces are at work when you do this prayer, and you are being decived.
the same thing over and over with attention to what you are saying, boring? yes at first, then not at all boring but fullfilling.
Realy its hard to help someone with this over the net, you desperatly need to speek to a monk with experience.
I will say it again: you are trying to control it, thats wrong. just pick one version, the longer version is best for you. dont kill yourself 50 heartfelt times is way better then 600 quickies. do it at the same time every day.
 

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While on the subject I'm curious -

What is the significance of the prayer rope?
Why is the Jesus prayer (I've always heard it "Oh Lord Jesus Christ, the son of God, have mercy upon me a sinner") affiliated with the prayer rope?
Are other prayers appropriate to say on the prayer rope?  (Such as first knot "our father", Second knot a psalm, third knot a hymn sung silently, etc.)
What purpose does a prayer rope serve for either the person using it, or significance to God?

I used one when I was a child, but I never understood it.
 

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yeshuaisiam said:
While on the subject I'm curious -

What is the significance of the prayer rope?
Why is the Jesus prayer (I've always heard it "Oh Lord Jesus Christ, the son of God, have mercy upon me a sinner") affiliated with the prayer rope?
Are other prayers appropriate to say on the prayer rope?  (Such as first knot "our father", Second knot a psalm, third knot a hymn sung silently, etc.)
What purpose does a prayer rope serve for either the person using it, or significance to God?

I used one when I was a child, but I never understood it.
What is the significance of the prayer rope?
No real significance. It's used to help one focus on prayer by involving the hands. It's also a way to keep track of how many prayers are said (if one has a prayer rule one is following) without being distracted by having to count. It's merely a tool to help one center oneself in prayer.

Are other prayers appropriate to say on the prayer rope?  (Such as first knot "our father", Second knot a psalm, third knot a hymn sung silently, etc.)
I can't see why not.
 

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yeshuaisiam said:
While on the subject I'm curious -

What is the significance of the prayer rope?
Why is the Jesus prayer (I've always heard it "Oh Lord Jesus Christ, the son of God, have mercy upon me a sinner") affiliated with the prayer rope?
Are other prayers appropriate to say on the prayer rope?  (Such as first knot "our father", Second knot a psalm, third knot a hymn sung silently, etc.)
What purpose does a prayer rope serve for either the person using it, or significance to God?

I used one when I was a child, but I never understood it.
TMI to write, try a google search.
But basically it was started so that the monks (obedience given to them) can keep good count of the number of prayers they had to say. they wernt educated back then and some them did not even know how to count. try saying 100x the Jesus prayer and not be worried if you did it 100x. very difficult to do. so they used various methods a bag of stones, making knots on a rope,  notches on a stick...none were as convenient as the prayer rope, for portability and accuracy. and the story goes the devil would come and un-knot the prayer knot rope as the monk was doing his prayers to confuse him. note I'm referring to a piece of rope you would make knots in as u said a prayer. and that's why the prayer rope was made with the special knots that contain crosses in it so the demons cant touch it and mess with the monk.
do a search there is more to the history.
 

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Ortho_cat said:
anyone know why we say "me" instead of "us" during the prayer?
I would think because the Jesus Prayer is based on the Prayer of the Publican, but also because it's a private, personal prayer.  While it's certainly laudable to pray for "us," one must also not to forget to pray for "me."
 

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Ortho_cat said:
anyone know why we say "me" instead of "us" during the prayer?
the whole prayer is " Lored Jesus Christ son of God have mercy on me a sinner"

If what u r asking is why dont we say "Lored Jesus Christ son of God have mercy on US a sinner".

Then the answer is (bluntly put, as it was bluntly put to me) "who are you to call other people sinners?"

thats not very himble thing to do, to assume otheres are sinners. as a mater of fact, we should assume otheres are not sinners and we alone are the worst sinners around.

You realy need to talk to a monk
 

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Its ok to pray for others but you would say it like this;

Lord Jesus Christ son of God have mercy on (insert name) period. Just leave out a sinner.
 

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Nikolaostheservant said:
Ortho_cat said:
anyone know why we say "me" instead of "us" during the prayer?
the whole prayer is " Lored Jesus Christ son of God have mercy on me a sinner"

If what u r asking is why dont we say "Lored Jesus Christ son of God have mercy on US a sinner".

Then the answer is (bluntly put, as it was bluntly put to me) "who are you to call other people sinners?"

thats not very himble thing to do, to assume otheres are sinners. as a mater of fact, we should assume otheres are not sinners and we alone are the worst sinners around.

You realy need to talk to a monk
no i agree, i was assuming it would be said like this "Lord Jesus Christ Son of God have mercy on us (and save us).

Just wondering why we use "me" instead of "us" which to me seems more inclusive and less "self-centered".
 

augustin717

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I always use "us" in order to benefit as many as possible through my intercession.
 

Nikolaostheservant

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augustin717 said:
I always use "us" in order to benefit as many as possible through my intercession.
Your motive is good, but im just saying what i have been told.
I was basically told to leave out the sinners part if im saying it for others in general or specificly.
the whole thing is for piety/humblenes, assuming always that we are sinners and not placing others in the same group.

i think we have to remember the prayer started out specificly for Monks, as an obidience. we are not monks, i dont think. the monks elder would give him this obidience according to the level the monk has reached. Also if the elder saw the monk was a little hard headed and wanted to do it another way, varying slightly in #'s or a variation of the prayer then the elder would instruct him accordingly.

for example: the monk does 3000 reps a day. The elder sees this and realizes the monk is doing too much. the elder then would tell him to do just 300, and the monk would have to do what the elder says to him, due to obidience. this also works visa versaa.
at this stag the above monk is using his ego/wil to make himself feel more holy (oh u only do 1k a day well i do 3k, im such a good monk. im definitly going to heaven) and he sould not.

this goes very deep, yo need an elder to TELL you what and how to do it depending on the stage you are at. thats why when we speek on the internet its like pissing in the wind. we are talking GEneralitys and we (each of us) need specifics for our own person from someone who can see into us and guage where we are currently.
 
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