Tertullian on Prayer

IMG_0801 In this morning’s readings Tertullian has this to say about prayer. It speaks for itself:

“We are true worshipers and true priests. We pray in spirit, and so offer in spirit the sacrifice of prayer. Prayer is an offering that belongs to God and is acceptable to him: it is the offering he has asked for, the offering he planned as his own.

“We must dedicate this offering with our whole heart, we must fatten it on faith, tend it by truth, keep it unblemished through innocence and clean through chastity, and crown it with love. We must escort it to the altar of God in a procession of good works to the sound of psalms and hymns. Then it will gain for us all that we ask of God….

“…How much greater then is the power of Christian prayer. No longer does prayer bring an angel of comfort to the heart of a fiery furnace, or close up the mouths of lions, or transport to the hungry food from the fields. No longer does it remove all sense of pain by the grace it wins for others. But it gives the armor of patience to those who suffer, who feel pain, who are distressed. It strengthens the power of grace, so that faith may know what it is gaining from the Lord, and understand when it is suffering for the name of God.

“Its only art is to call back the souls of the dead from the very journey into death, to give strength to the weak, to heal the sick, to exorcise the possessed, to open prison cells, to free the innocent from their chains. Prayer cleanses from sin, drives away temptations, stamps out persecutions, comforts the fainthearted, gives new strength to the courageous, brings travelers safely home, calms the waves, confounds robbers, feeds the poor, overrules the rich, lifts up the fallen, supports those who are falling, sustains those who stand firm.

“All angels pray. Every creature prays. Cattle and wild beasts pray and bend the knee. As they come from their barns and caves they look up to heaven and call out, lifting up their spirit in their own fashion. The birds too rise and lift themselves up to heaven: they open out their wings, instead of hands, in the form of a cross, and give voice to what seems to be a prayer.

“What more need be said on the duty of prayer? Even the Lord himself prayed. To him be honor and power for ever and ever. Amen.”


2 thoughts on “Tertullian on Prayer

  1. When reading something like your “Tertullian on Prayer” I always end up feeling inspired, yet a little bit sad. Sometimes life gets hectic and sooo busy and “poof ” before I know it the sun is setting and I didn’t pray the way I wanted to today.
    What don’t I get? What is it that makes anything other than GOD in my day more important than GOD? We make time for the people we love. I love God! Why does HE often times get placed on the back burner…?
    “The birds in the air, the fish in the sea.”
    Thank You, God, for giving us little creatures who surely know more than I about You. Who, while flying high and free or swimming the deep blue sea, are praying…praying beautifully to You for me.
    Thank you Tertullian and Spirit Island for bringing God back into my day today.

  2. Your just like most of us. I can so relate. After morning prayers, I often wonder where the “glow” goes. We’re human, we can always do better, but I think God cuts us a lot of slack. He knows how goofy our little human lives can get. Sometimes I think we’re harder on ourselves than He is.

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