What is the direction that Christians pray to God?Followers of Judaism face Bait Al-Maqdas whereas Muslims turn their face to Baitullah (Kaaba), Makkah while praying. a) What is the direction in...

What is the direction that Christians pray to God?

Followers of Judaism face Bait Al-Maqdas whereas Muslims turn their face to Baitullah (Kaaba), Makkah while praying.

a) What is the direction in which Christians pray?

b) Since when they are praying in that direction?

Expert Answers
wordprof eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Insightful comparison! Christians don’t pray toward any geographic place, although they do hold Bethlehem as special, and install “crèches” in their homes at Christmas (reproductions of the manger where Christ was born, complete with shepherds, angels, animals, and the Three Kings.) They pray inwardly and toward the sky, where they believe Heaven might be, and they pray “through” messengers to God (intercession), notably Mary and the saints—they usually have a patron saint who acts as an intercessor. Christians pray for forgiveness, for salvation (especially at the moment of death), and for peace while in the earthly plane; praying for material goods, or good luck, or such mundane matters, is frowned upon; praying for the welfare of others is encouraged. They use statues, holy pictures, etc. not as idols but as help in concentrating their meditation on Christ’s example. To a Christian, praying is having a private conversation with the Deity, in which, by calmly and quietly “listening,” he can “hear” Christ’s message.

johngault eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Your question is one of ecumenicalism: you must define terms to receive an accurate response.  How have you defined Christian?  If Christian is defined denominationally, there are myriad responses possible.  If Christian is defined as one who accepts Jesus is God, then one prays towards their Heavenly Father, through His Son, Jesus.  However, philosophically speaking, if God is omnipresent, then ones prayer need not be oriented in a phyiscal direction, but rather a spiritual direction.

najm1947 | Student

I think I have not been able to word the problem properly. I wanted to know the direction in case of public prayers and not the private prayers. In private prayers it the same in Judaism and Islam as you have described for Christianity.

As for as I know most of the Orthodox Christian churches are in east-west direction and public prayers are made facing east - the direction of rising sun. Some churches exist in other directions too but these are said to be so oriented due to space limitations.

My question is that how  and when the direction changed from Jerusalem to east?

We know that that Jesus was born to a Jewish mother and most if not all of his apostles were jews.

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