Origen Prayer Teachings
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Early Church Manuscript 138

The Right Place to Pray

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

Though Your Feet Ache

prayer candlesJohn Foster writes 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." In Daniel 6.10 we are also told when to pray, "Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he 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." You are told to pray always, because the good life is a prayer. Prayer, in the ordinary sense, should be at least three times each day, morning as in Psalm 5.3, "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 as 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 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?

Should you stand, kneel, or sit to pray? The best position according to Origen is 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 continue, "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

"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." What can we learn from the New Testament and the Early Church Christians about prayer?

"Origen Prayer Teachings"
by Ron Meacock © 2017

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