Tuesday, October 2nd, 2017
Today we finally get into how we should go about praying. I’m sure we’ve all learned different ways of prayer; some of us grew up bowing our heads and folding our hands or perhaps kneeling to pray. For some people, what we do when we pray changes depending on where we are or who we are with. Maybe you hold hands when you pray before a meal. When a group is preparing to leave on a mission, it is common for a church to put their hands on them as they pray.
But what does the Bible say we should do?
As it turns out, there is no single way that the Bible tells us to pray. We can find some examples of how people in the Bible prayed, however. In Genesis 24:45, it says that Rebekah prayed in her heart. If you read this with the understanding that ancient Egyptians (and by implication, the Israelites) believed that the heart was the center of thought and knowledge, the verse says that Rebekah prayed in her mind. So silent prayers are absolutely fine! Matthew 6:5 speaks of praying while standing and in Luke 22:41, Jesus prays while kneeling. If it’s good enough for Jesus, it is good enough for me.
Personally, I have never understood the practice of closing your eyes and bowing your head. If prayer is a conversation with God, then I want to stand tall and meet his eyes, as I would for any person that I respect. If I were to meet the President of the United States, I would stand, shake his hand and maintain solid eye contact. For me, this is the highest form of respect in our culture. For me, when I close my eyes, I look at myself. How can I have a conversation if I’m only thinking about myself? At that point it is a monologue and no longer a prayer.
The long and short of prayer posture is: it all comes down to you! Pray in such a way that you can keep your focus on the prayer. If closing your eyes causes your mind to wander, than open your eyes. If having your eyes open causes you to get distracted by what you see, then shut your eyes. Maybe some of us need to try praying in a different way than we have before. After all, anyone who is in Christ should be a new creation!