Why Turn To East For Prayer?

Written By: on Jul 6th, 2009 and filed under Articles, We Believe.

2. The prophets foretold the coming of Jesus as the Messiah in symbolic and figurative language. The New Testament writers interpreted these prophecies as having been fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth. For example the prophecy of Malachi. ” But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings” ( 4: 2). So looking to the East stands for our earnest waiting for the coming of Christ, the healer and saviour of the world.

3. Jesus said: ” I am the light of the world, he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” ( St. John 8:12) Light is the source of life. On our planet earth, all life depends on the light of the sun. But the physical sun in our solar system sustains only biological life in plants, animals, and human beings. This life will eventually die. The sun as a star will ultimately die as well. In the spiritual realm, Jesus is the eternal sun. He is the source and sustainer of all life, both biological and spiritual. He is ” the true light that enlightens every human being” ( St. John, 1:9 ).

Therefore we symbolically turn to the direction of the rising sun to receive the light of the risen Christ. Christ is also called ” the bright morning star” ( Rev. 22:16) He inaugurated the new age of the Kingdom of God. As the dawn breaks, the eastern horizon brightens up with beautiful colours. We turn to the beauty and brilliance of God’s light as we praise the triune God facing east.

4. A popular Christian belief developed in the course of time that in the Second Coming, Christ would come from the East. The basis of this tradition is the Gospel reference ( Matt. 24:27) that the coming of the Son of Man would be like lightening that shines from the east to the west.

So, turning to the east stands for our final preparation to receive Christ when he comes for the last Judgment of the world. Thus the east symbolizes our spiritual wakefulness, our readiness to give account of our life and our hope in the transfiguration of all creation in Christ our Lord.

This biblical, Christ centered tradition of the church of turning to the east in prayer is part of the rich heritage of the Orthodox church. We build our churches in the east-west direction. The whole congregation together with the priest turns to east in remembrance of all that God grants us from the time of our creation in Paradise to the fulfillment of all in the Second coming of Christ. The bodies of our beloved departed faithful are laid to rest facing the east with the hope of resurrection and meeting Jesus face to face.

Turning to the East, of course is a symbolic act. We know that East and West, South and North have no physical and geographical significance in the age of space travel in a Tran terrestrial cosmic frame. Yet it is a deeply spiritual symbol and a most beautiful one in the whole of Christian tradition. In special situations when the place or building where we worship happens to be inconvenient for the traditional orientation of the community, we are free to turn to any suitable direction. The sense of the east gives the right ” orientation” ( from the world Orient + East ) for our earthly life in the midst of suffering, doubt, and spiritual disorientation. In any case, it is only wise to keep this ancient tradition in its right spirit.

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5 Responses for “Why Turn To East For Prayer?”

  1. Thomas says:

    Dear Father T.George

    Please go throuh following bible verses

    Genesis : 2;8
    Genesis : 3.24
    Ezekiel : 43: 1&2
    Ezekiel : 43:4
    Ezekiel : 44; 1&2
    yessiah ; 46:11
    Ezekiel 10:19
    Ezekiel 46:12
    yessiah : 24:15

    in new testament

    Malachi : 4:2
    MATHEW : 2:2
    MATHEW : 2:9
    ACTS 1: 9-12

    ZACHARIA : 14:4
    MATHEW : 24:27

    THESE VERSUS ARE ENOUGH FOR YOUR DOUBT.

    {]mÀ°nt¡­Xv Ingt¡m«v t\m¡n Xt¶

    ]gb \nba¯nÂ

    1. DÂ]¯n 2:8 þ ssZhw Ing¡v GZ\n Hcp tXm«w D­m¡n

    2. DÂ]¯n 3:24 þ ……hgn Im¸m³ ………GZ³ tXm«¯n\p Ing¡v sIcq_pIsf \nÀ¯n.

    3. sblkv 43:1— &—-2 - ssZh¯nsâ tXPÊv Ing¡v hgnbmbn h¶p.

    4. sblkvtI 43:4 - btlmhbpsS tXPÊv Ingt¡m«v ZÀi\apÅ tKm]pc¯n¡qSn
    Beb¯nte¡p {]thin¨p.

    5. sblkvtI 44:1 &- 2 – Ingt¡m«v ZÀi\apÅ tKm]pc¯n¡qSn btlmh IS¶Xp
    sIm­v AXv AS¨ntSWw.

    6. sbi¿m 46:11 – Ing¡p \n¶v…………Fsâ BtemN\ Ign¡p¶ ]pcpjs\ hnfn¡p¶p.

    7. sblkvtI 10:19 - At¸mÄ sIcq_pIÄ NndIp hnSÀ¯n ……..Ingt¡ ]Sn
    hmXn¡ sN¶p \n¶p.

    8. sblkv 46:12  ………bmKw AÀ¸n¡pt¼mÄ Ingt¡m«v ZÀi\apÅ tKm]pcw Xpd¶p sImSp¡Ww.

    9. sbi¿m 24:15  \n§Ä Ing¡p btlmhsb alXzs¸Sp¯phn³

    ]pXnb \nba¯nÂ

    1. amemJn 4:2 - \oXn kqcy³ DZn¡pw F¶p {InkvXphns\¡pdn¨v {]hNn¡p¶p.

    2. hn. a¯mbn 2:2 - R§Ä Ahsâ \£{Xw Ing¡p I­p.

    3. hn. a¯mbn 2:9 –  Ing¡v I­ \£{Xw inip Ccn¡p¶ Øe¯n\p aosX sN¶p \n¶p.

    4. At¸m. {]h. 1:9&12 - bcpitean\p Ing¡p Henhp aebn \n¶pw IÀ¯mhv
    kzÀ¤mtcmlWw sNbvXp.

    c­mas¯ hchv

    kJdnbm 14:4 –- Ahsâ Im bdptieans\Xnsc Ing¡pÅ Henhp aebn \n¡pw.

    hn. a¯mbn 24:27 þ an¶Â Ing¡p \n¶p ]pds¸«v ]Snªmtdmfw hnf§pw t]mse a\pjy]p{Xsâ hchv BIpw.
    Conclusion

    ssZh¯nsâ tXPÊpw BKa\hpw Ing¡p \n¶pw hcp¶p. a\pjy]p{X³ h¶Xv Ing¡p \n¶mWv. kzÀ¤mtcmlWw sNbvXXpw Ing¡p \n¶v. C\n c­mas¯ hchpw Ing¡p \n¶mWv. AXpsIm­v ssZhs¯ kzoIcn¡m\pw A\p{Klw {]m]n¡m\pw BWv \mw {]mÀ°n¡p¶Xv F¦n Ingt¡m«v t\m¡n Xt¶ {]mÀ°n¡Ww.
    ∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

  2. Andreas Cassian says:

    Beloved Father in Christ, George;

    In Ezekiel we find men who are facing the opposite direction from the Holy of Holies. The original orientation of the Temple and of the Mishkan, the Tent of Meeting, was that the rising sun illuminated the entrance. This means that the earthly reflection of the heavenly reality was illuminated by the Light to Come. When He came we began to face him. The men in Ezekiel were condemned for looking for some other illumination than that which had been (so far) revealed. That is always to be condemned. Nothing is greater than the Revelation.

    As for the direction of the North, it is as you point out the direction of the “storm wind.” When the priest blesses or signs with the cross in the four directions the North should be sealed and the South opened. Why? Because the “storm wind” is the aspect of God’s wrath and the “sea and the South shall be your inheritence,” that is, mercy shall be our lot and not wrath.

    But as for me, please pray dear father, for I am a sinner and a cripple living in pain every day.

  3. Dear Brethren,

    May the peace of the Lord be with you!

    I am assistant diractor in Bible In Risht and True Hands (BIRTHs) Ministry. We serve to get the Word of God out reach to the people who are looking for the Lord’s salvation for them.We do not have any church or affiliation with any kind of ministry. I studied your site and wish to become the part of you to work in my area through your guidance and through the same beliefs.

    I pray that our coordination will bring many souls around us to be saved and get into the Kingdome of the Lord. I will be waiting for your response on this.

    In Christ,

    Faheem Qaiser

  4. Fr. T.George,Ireland. says:

    My dear KM George Achen,
    Warm greetings to you in the name of Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, the one true God maker of heaven and earth now and forever and ever. Amen. No need to comment that your article on the topic ” Why Turn to East for Prayer”? is unique in every sense. It is of course par excellence. But I have some doubts which I hope you would clear off.
    1) In Ezekiel 8: 16 we see of 25 men praying facing towards east which happened to be an abomination in the sight of God. How do you view this?
    2) In Ezekiel 1: 4, we read of a windstorm coming out of the north. Doesn’t it imply that the divine presence comes from the North direction?.

    3)The Psalms75:6 says thus: “The judgement does not come from east, or from west or from south”. Doesn’t it mean that North has some importance?
    .
    4) In Genesis 13:14 and Deuteronomy 3:27, priority is given to North when said of other directions.

    Looking eagerly forward for your response.
    With love and Prayers,
    George Achen, Ireland.

  5. Roney says:

    Please try to include Fr.T.J.Joshua’s articles too on the very same topic

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