In the early years of my faith I had a divine appointment.
I was in Ocean City Maryland and 'by chance' took up a conversation with a young Benedictine Monk.. He was in plain clothes so there was no way of knowing he was a monk until further into our discussion.
We talked about prayer. i spoke about intercessory prayer and he spoke of contemplative prayer.
The conversation lasted for two days. The Holy Spirit knit our hearts.
He gave me three gifts when it came time for our final departure. He told me about The Jesus Prayer. He gave me a well worn copy of The Way of a Pilgrim and finally he gave me a handmade set of "Jesus Beads" that he had made. Later in life I would get a copy of the Philokalia.
The Way of the Pilgrim (not related to Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress) is an Eastern catholic or Orthodox classic. It is about a man whose tragic life included the loss of his wife and children when his house caught fire and burned to the ground in the countryside of Russia. He wandered through the countryside praying the Jesus Prayer. .
;The Jesus prayer is a prayer of every breath.. "Lord Jesus Christ Son of God" (on the inhale) and "Have Mercy on Me a Sinner"(on the exhale.). A simple prayer that upon repetition becomes part of breathing. It is not 'vain repetition' because there is nothing vain about crying out to God for mercy from His Son.
The beads help with building the practice of the prayer until it becomes second nature..
The Philokalia is another Orthodox classic that is a compendium of information,and testimony about The Jesus Prayer.
I still pray the Jesus Prayer after learning about it 35 years ago from that dear young Benedictine Monk.
The Lord be praised that truth can ride the tumult of every storm and experience is the better teacher than the lips of people and books.