Should We Pray Facing the East?


Ann:  Hello pastor, Good morning. What brings you here?

Pastor: I am glad you came for the prayer meeting yesterday. We have one tomorrow also.  I came to invite you for it. Praise the Lord.

Ann: I came yesterday to see what you were doing. Everyday I hear roaring and shouting and singing and clapping. I wanted to see it.  That is why I came.

Pastor: Praise the Lord. Our Lord said ‘see and believe’.  I am glad you came.

Ann: Let me ask some thing.  Muslims pray facing west.  But we Christians pray facing the east.  But I saw you all praying facing west, like Muslims. Why is that?

Pastor: There is no verse in the Bible that tells us that we should pray facing west. We are sons of God and we do all as per bible.

Ann: Does the Bible say that we should pray facing east? Or does the Bible say we should face west while praying? If the answer is ‘NO’. How is this biblical?

Pastor: God is Omniscient.  So we can face anywhere while praying. Praise the Lord.

Ann: I see.  You are asking Biblical reference for everything.  So does the bible say we can pray facing anywhere?  Our church gives lots of importance to east.  That is why I asked?

Pastor:  The traditional churches have accrued some bad practices and superstitions over the years.  There is no importance for East what so ever in the Bible. Therefore, it is not required to pray facing the east.

Ann: What if I prove that east has importance according to the Bible? Will you correct yourself?

Pastor: Amen.  For us, Bible is the only word of God. We will not accept your Canon or advices of your church fathers.  Christians should live by the Bible.

Ann: So if I prove this from the bible, will you agree?

Pastor: Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord.  I will agree to the Lord’s words.

Ann: Pastor can you read Ezekiel 43:1-2

Pastor: “Then he lead me to the gate which faces the east, and there I saw the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east” What about it Ann?  I don’t find this verse telling us that we should pray facing east?

Ann: I agree, but can you agree that Glory of God is coming form the east?

Pastor: No, just with this one sentence I will not agree.

Ann: How come, is it not clear?  Then read Ezekiel 43:4

Pastor: “the Glory of the LORD entered the temple by the way of the gate which faces the east

Ann: What do these versus say? Isn’t it that Glory of the Lord entered the temple from the east? Since Glory of God is coming from the east, shouldn’t we pray facing the east?

Pastor: Even though Glory of God is coming from the east, people who pray facing west are also eligible to receive it and so he wont loose it.

Ann:  Really?  Think calmly. We are all here to receive the Glory of God. And Glory of God comes from the east.  Is it fair to  show our backs to the Glory of God? Isn’t this an insult to the Lord?

Pastor:  We do not teach that we should not pray facing east.  Nor we say it is wrong.

Ann:  Oh I see. Then you should teach your church members to pray facing the east because the Glory of God comes from the east. 

Pastor: Any way, who taught you these two versus?

Ann:  These are things the church teaches. You haven't learned the Bible well enough. That is why you criticize the practice of praying facing the east by saying that it is not biblical and is just superstition etc. Any way, please read Mathew 24:27.

Pastor: “For just as the lightning comes from the east and is seen as far as the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be.”

Ann: So it is clear that Son of Man comes from the east and so we should pray facing the east.  And in Ezekiel 46:12  “When the prince makes a freewill offering to the Lord, weather holocausts or peace offerings, the eastern gates shall be opened for him”. So we have to face east when we offer our sacrifices (offerings) and pray.

Pastor:  Any more verses on this?

Ann: Yes. Read Isaiah 46:11  “I call from the east a bird of prey from the distant land, one to carry out my plan”. So God’s bird of prey comes from the east.

Pastor: I agree

Ann: See, all our practices are based on the Bible.  They are established by Jesus Himself or His apostles or by the early church fathers.  Lets look further. Ezekiel 10:19 “They (cherubim) lifted their wings, and I saw them rise from the earth the wheels rising along with them.  They stood at the entrance of the eastern gate of the LORD’s house and the glory of the God of Israel was up above them. Then the cherubim lifted their wings, and the wheels went along with them while up above them was the glory of the God of Israel   And the Glory of the LORD rose from the city and took a stand on the mountain which is to the east of the city."  So we have to pray looking to cherubim and the Glory of the Lord and that is to the east, and not looking somewhere else.

Pastor: I learned a lot today.  Let me go home and think peacefully about these versus. Praise the Lord.

Ann:  Are you in a hurry?  I will come for your prayer meeting.  But make sure that you pray facing the east in the future.

Pastor: I did not say that there is not importance to east.  Let me think it over

Ann:  Good. Refer to these versus also. Gen3: 34 “When he expelled the man, he settled him east of the garden of Eden”  “Then the LORD God planted a garden in Eden in the east.” (Gen 2:8).  So Eden was planted in the east and God entered Eden through the east gate.

Pastor:  I have to get going.

Ann Since you are going to think it over, this verse will be handy Ezekiel 44:1-2 “Then He brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary facing the east; but it was closed; it is not to be opened for any one to enter by it since the LORD, the God of Israel has entered by it, it shall remain closed”. So it is clear here that LORD has entered by the East gate.  LORD’s coming is always from the east.  So it is clear that we have to pray facing east. Also read Isaiah   41:2 “Who has stirred up from the East the champion of justice?”  Here also same thing is proved.

Pastor:  Thank you Ann.  I am in a hurry. Bye. I will see you later.

St. Ignatious Sunday School, Dallas