For a very long time I was thinking what about can I write an article. In the beginning, I was thinking to analyze the passages from the Gospels, to explain the notion about ritual purity. The main problem of these themes that the reader should have the knowledge of some theological notions to understand the problem. I hope to write one day a series of articles that will talk about the different theological notions.

Finally, I’ve decided to dedicate this article to the “Prayer” because of the contradictions of understanding of the first aim of this practice in the Christian world.

Origins

When the prayer was appeared in the Christianity? The act of prayer has already existed in the ancient beliefs and religions from their beginning.

In the Christianity, the practice of pray came from the Judaism and the Roman religion.

In the Ancient Testament, we can see the very different prayers. The songs from the Book of Psalms are very unlike from the intercession of Abraham to God that asks to not destruct the Sodom and Gomorrah (Gn 18:17-33).

Jesus Christ can be seen as the “creator” of the Christian prayer with his revolutionary conception of it.

Jesus and Prayer

From the beginning of Jesus’s worship, he prays to his Father. He teaches his followers speak to the God sincerely. His approach to the prayer is different in comparison to the Jews of his time that believe that the prayer should be done in the special conditions and in the Temple. Despite the hostility between the Christian confessions, all of them accept the Lord’s Prayer (Mt 6:9-13; Lk 11:2-4) and the Grace (2 Cor 13:14).

Jesus Praying
Jesus praying in Gethsemane (Heinrich Hofmann).

Prayer in different confessions

As I have already noticed, the Christian confessions have a tendency to criticize the approach to the prayer of the others believers. For example, an  the charismatic protestants like Pentecostalism criticize the Catholics for their “formal praying”. It’s well known that Pentecostal congregations experience the glossolalia (the speaking in unknown language). They explain this phenomenon by their accessibility to the Holy Spirit.

The protestants pray from their heart directly to God. They don’t believe in the intercession of Saints like the Orthodox and the Catholic believers.

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

(RCV-2CE)

Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread; and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us; and lead us not into temptation .

(RCV-2CE)


 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

(KJV)

The Orthodox Church doesn’t accept all types of prayers of the Catholic Church as the only one that possesses the real faith. They practice the meditation of the Jesus Prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner”. This prayer can be compared to the Rosary prayer in the Catholicism.

The Anglicans use the Book of Common Prayer for the celebrations.

The theological significance of the prayer

It’s not at all important which way we are praying. The most important thing is the comprehension of the aim of our prayer. If you pray just because you should pray, it’s better to not pray at all. The prayer should go from our heart to God to be listened by Him. Before the prayer, it’s important to clean our spirit, to be prepared for this action in our physical and spiritual posture. It doesn’t matter for God if we repeat the traditional Christian prayers or we invent the prayers by ourselves because He looks at first our heart. The significance of the prayer is the sincere dialogue with God.

Prayer

I would like to finish this article by meditation of the prayer of Saint Francis that can be a good life motivator for all Christians:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me bring love.

Where there is offense, let me bring pardon.

Where there is discord, let me bring union.

Where there is error, let me bring truth.

Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.

Where there is despair, let me bring hope.

Where there is darkness, let me bring your light.

Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.

O Master, let me not seek as much

to be consoled as to console,

to be understood as to understand,

to be loved as to love,

for it is in giving that one receives,

it is in self-forgetting that one finds,

it is in pardoning that one is pardoned,

it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life.