Origen: Do You Pray to the Father through Jesus Christ?

Feast of St Habakkuk the Prophet

Origen_Square.jpgNOW IF WE observe the proper nature of prayer we should not pray to any begotten being, not even to Christ Himself, but only to God the Father of all, to whom even our Savior Himself prayed, as we have already recorded, and to whom He teaches us to pray. For when He heard: “Teach us to pray” (Lk. 11.1), He does not teach us to pray to Himself but to the Father. “Our Father, who are in the heavens. . .” and the rest. For if, as is shown elsewhere, the Son is distinct from the Father in essence and in underlying reality, then we should pray to the Son and not to the Father, or to them both, or to the Father alone. That prayer to the Son and not to the Father is absurd, and contrary to obvious evidence, would be universally agreed. Whereas if we are to pray to both it is clear that we should have to offer our requests in plural form, saying as we pray: “Grant, both of you,” and “Bless, both of you,” “Supply, both of you,” “Save, both of you,” and the like. This is self-evidently incongruous, and nor can anybody show that this is to be found spoken by anyone in the Scriptures. It therefore remains to us to pray to God the Father of all alone, but not apart from the high priest, who has been appointed by the Father by the swearing of an “oath that He will not revoke. You are a priest for ever, after the order of Melchizedek” (Ps. 109.4).

Therefore the saints, when they give thanks to God in their prayers, confess their thanks to Him through Jesus Christ. Just as it is improper for somebody who is scrupulous in prayer to pray to one who himself prays but to the one whom our Lord Jesus taught us to address as “Father” in our prayers, so no prayer should be offered to the Father except through Him; as He Himself made clear when He said: “Truly, truly I say to you, if you should ask anything of my Father, He will grant it to you in my name. Until now you have asked nothing in my name; ask, and you shall receive, so that your joy may be completed” (Jn. 16. 23-24). For He did not say: “Ask me,” or simply “Ask the Father,” but “If you should ask anything of the Father He will grant it to you in my name.” For until Jesus taught this, nobody besought the Father in the name of the Son, so Jesus’ words, “until now you have asked nothing in my name” are true. And true also is the statement: “Ask, and you shall receive, so that your joy may be completed” (Jn. 16.24).

—Origen, On Prayer

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