Another Classic book recommended by Christian Classics Ethereal Library is Tertullian’s book called ‘On Prayer’. This follows on from Origen’s book on prayer for a series of classic prayer books.
As with Origen, Tertullian was an early Church leader (155 – 222). Tertullian’s life was full of claims of heresy within the Church and counter claims of heresy in life. He is perhaps best known as being the author that first used the term Trinity to explain the Godhead.
Tertullian believed that prayer replaces temple sacrifices. He argued that individual petitions should be added to the Lord’s prayer – not that Jesus intended us to continually recite it word for word. Tertulian’s model for prayer also invariable focused on spoken prayer, and prayer together. This is linked to his view that prayer was basically worship.
Here is an extract from the beginning of the book”
The Spirit of God, and the Word of God, and the Reason of God—Word of Reason, and Reason and Spirit of Word—Jesus Christ our Lord, namely, who is both the one and the other, -has determined for us, the disciples of the New Testament, a new form of prayer; for in this particular also it was needful that new wine should be laid up in new skins, and a new breadth be sewn to a new garment. Besides, whatever had been in bygone days, has either been quite changed, as circumcision; or else supplemented, as the rest of the Law; or else fulfilled, as Prophecy; or else perfected, as faith itself. For the new grace of God has renewed all things from carnal unto spiritual, by superinducing the Gospel, the obliterator of the whole ancient bygone system; in which our Lord Jesus Christ has been approved as the Spirit of God, and the Word of God, and the Reason of God: the Spirit, by which He was mighty; the Word, by which He taught; the Reason, by which He came. So the prayer composed by Christ has been composed of three parts. In speech, by which prayer is enunciated, in spirit, by which alone it prevails, even John had taught his disciples to pray, but all John’s doings were laid as groundwork for Christ, until, when “He had increased”—just as the same John used to fore-announce “that it was needful” that “He should increase and himself decrease— the whole work of the forerunner passed over, together with his spirit itself, unto the Lord. Therefore, after what form of words John taught to pray is not extant, because earthly things have given place to heavenly. “He who is from the earth,” says John, “speaketh earthly things; and He who is here from the heavens speaketh those things which He hath seen.