Origen Prayer Teachings
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Origen Prayer Teachings
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Early Church Manuscript

OrigenOrigen prayer teachings were written at Caesarea about the year 236 AD and were recorded as part of the Early Church manuscript called "The Apostolic Fathers." In one part of this book, Origen Adamantius (184-253 AD) who was born and grew up in Alexandria to become a Hellenistic scholar, ascetic and early Christian theologian described how to pray. "Settle your mind. Put yourself in God's presence and act as though God were there, looking at you. Then you will hear the Lord's reply as in Isaiah 58.9, 'Here I am.'"

Your Feet Ache

prayer candlesJohn Foster wrote in "The First Advance, Church History 1, A.D. 29-500," "This is the greatest answer to prayer, to know the presence of God. You do not pray alone. Christ prays with you, and the angels, who rejoice over one sinner who turns to God, pray with you." We were also instructed by Daniel 6.10 when to pray from the example of Daniel. "Daniel went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before." We should pray always, because the good life Is a prayer. Prayer should be at least three times each day, morning, noon and evening. In Psalm 5.3 we read, "In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly." Peter went to pray at noon in Acts 10.9, "About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray." We should also pray in the evening as in Psalm 141.2 "May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice."

Stand Sit or Kneel?

Then the question arose, "Should you stand, kneel or sit to pray?" The best position according to Origen was, "to stand, with hands held out, and eyes looking up, even as you want to lift up your soul, and raise your mind to God." Origen's teachings continued, "Kneeling is right, when you are asking God's forgiveness. But you may pray sitting if your feet ache, or even lying down if you have a fever. Sometimes, for example at sea, or in a crowd, you must not bother about position at all."

A Place to Pray

Origen continued in his teaching, "As for the place of prayer, any place can be the right place. A place becomes the right place when you pray in it. In your own home, choose a quiet clean and good place which can be made your holy place. There is one place where we most expect the presence of angels, the power of the Lord himself, and the spirits of holy men, both those still living and those passed on. I mean the place where the congregation and the faithful meet." The question for Christians today is, What can we learn from the New Testament and Early Church Christians about prayer?

"Origen Prayer Teachings"
by Ron Meacock © 2018

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