Nickitas Demos

The Unceasing Prayer

The Unceasing Prayer (1997)

Nickitas Demos


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Duration: 6'30"

This brief meditative work is a setting of an ancient Christian prayer known simply as the Jesus Prayer. The text of this short prayer is as follows: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. In his book, Way of the Ascetics, author Tito Colliander comments that the Jesus Prayer “…is a form of devotion of great antiquity in Eastern Christendom. The saintly Abbot Isaiah, an Egyptian hermit, says of the Jesus Prayer that it is a mirror for the mind and a lantern for the conscience. It has also been likened to a constantly sounding, quiet voice in a house: all thieves that sneak in take hasty flight when they hear that someone is awake there. The house is the heart; the thieves are evil impulses. Prayer is the voice of the one who keeps watch.”

This work is derived from an earlier version originally scored for SSAA choir and string quintet. The original version was never performed and has subsequently been removed from my catalog of works. However, the Georgia State University Symphony Orchestra and the University Singers premiered this revised orchestration in 1997 on a concert celebrating the establishment of a music scholarship in memory of my father, John N. Demos.