Prayer as Communion

H/T: Fr. Ted’s blog (here)

“The first to reflect theologically on prayer as communion was Origen, perhaps the greatest Christian thinker of all time.  In his work On Prayer Origen conceived of the highest purpose of prayer as participation in the life of God.  Prayer was neither to inform God about our material needs nor to change His providential purposes in our lives, but rather to lift up our hearts and minds to heaven in order to gaze at the divine glory and be illuminated with the radiance of God.  In prayer the believer is ‘mingled’ … with the Spirit of the Lord whose glory fills heaven and earth.  The praying believer is purified and changed into a new creation and the whole of life becomes ‘a single great prayer.’  … The element of communion shows that prayer is not merely a means to an end but an end in itself.  Through prayer we seek not merely the gifts of God but God Himself, that is, to be with Him, live in Him, and delight in His presence.  Saint Isaac the Syrian (d. 550AD) says that the primary purpose of prayer is to attain divine love.”

(Theodore Stylianopoulos, THE WAY OF CHRIST, p 103)

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