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Do we have to light candles while we pray?

Do we have to light candles while we pray?

The short answer to this question is no. However, this does not necessarily mean we shouldn’t, can’t or must never do so.

Historical church

In the historical church, tradition candles have often been used to signify the beginning of worship. In the Old Testament when God gave Moses direction for setting up the tabernacle in the wilderness the branched candlestick was one of the main pieces of equipment and furnishings of the tabernacle itself. Of course, this was in the days before gas lighting, and then electric lighting and without the candlestick in the Tabernacle it would have been completely dark.

Modern times

In Modern times the Catholic church still uses candles and often encourage people to light a candle when they pray for someone. In traditional state churches of man countries, such as the Anglican church may still use lighting candles to signify the beginning of a worship service. Most protestant churches though would not light candles specifically for services unless it is around Christmas time when these are frequently seen but have no spiritual meaning necessarily.

Concentrate on God

In today’s world of rush and hurry, there has been a resurgence of Celtic spirituality, more reflective, unhurried worship which often encourages the lighting of candles at the beginning of personal spiritual times of prayer, worship, reading God’s word and meditation. This is not because it will bring God suddenly close to us, but to help us withdraw to a quiet, special space or corner of our homes, where we can concentrate on God. As we light the candle, we are asking to draw near to God and preparing our hearts to listen to Him and to be conscious of Him and His presence with us. Some people find this very helpful, others find it distracting.

On its own, the lighting of the candle is not important, but if you find it helpful in drawing near to God then, by all means, do it.

How does this Bible teaching speak to you? Please share your thoughts below!

Also read How should you pray?

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Eunice Burden

Eunice Burden

Eunice comes from UK and has been in Thailand 25 years. She and a Thai co-worker wrote a 4 year curriculum for all age Sunday Schools and they also did Sunday school teacher training seminars. She went back to UK for 8 years. Whilst in UK she did various courses including a theology degree and came back to Thailand with OMF in 1999. For most of her time since then she has been involved teaching lay leaders of the Thai, supporting and advising, speaking and teaching in various churches. Gradually over the years she has been invited to join various facilitator teams of the OMF.

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Do we have to light candles while we pray?