Oriental Meditation and Christian Prayer

Meditation is usually thought of as an oriental approach to the divine. In the Occident, especially in Christian communities, prayer has taken its place. It is by prayer that the Christian customarily approaches the Divine, and through it he seeks entry to the higher worlds.

It should be noted by the way that what passes for prayer today would by no means have been considered such in early Christian times, least of all by the Founder of Christianity, Christ Jesus Himself. For if it were to happen that someone were really to gain the gratification of his personal wishes by prayer or entreaty, he would soon entirely disregard the all-embracing effect that the granting of the prayer should bring.  He would assume that the Deity granted his wishes rather than those of others.  One peasant might pray for sunshine for a particular crop; another for rain for another crop. What would Divine Providence then do?

Or suppose two opposing armies are facing each other, with each side praying for victory and supposing its cause alone to be just. Such an instance makes immediately obvious how little universality and sense of brotherhood attach to prayers arising out of personal wishes, and the granting of such prayers by God can satisfy only one group of supplicants. People so praying disregard the prayer in which Christ Jesus set forth the fundamental attitude of mind that should prevail in all prayer: “Father, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not my will, but thine, be done.” This is the Christian attitude of prayer.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 96 – The Lord’s Prayer/An Esoteric Study – Berlin, January 28, 1907


Carl Bloch, “Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane”, 1873