Religions always seem to have fixed rules and somehow many people are of the opinion that a certain prayer posture belongs to it. This seems hardly different in Christianity. But let’s take a look at the topic of “prayer attitudes in Christianity”. The prayer postures in Christianity are as diverse as each believer.
Basically it is quite simple: As with so many things with Jesus, there is not “the” correct prayer posture in Christianity. However, the manner (i.e. the inner posture) of praying is much more important to God than adhering to a particular physical posture of prayer.
Table of Contents
Where does the idea of certain prayer postures come from?
Where does the idea of having to have a certain prayer posture come from? At this point I have to guess and refer to images on television or existing traditions.
In Islam, for example, there are fixed forms of prayer that are prescribed in detail. Starting with the direction of prayer, the angle of bending, the content of the prayer and so on. Similarly, our Jewish friends tie certain prayers on their foreheads and around their arms, and then devote themselves to certain texts of the Old Testament in a nodding motion.
Jesus does not care about such traditions if the heart is not in it!
Is there a specific position to pray?
Jesus teaches us very directly how God should be worshipped: quietly in a closet! The goal here is not to just pretend to pray – but to “simply” really pray. Because only when no one is watching is honest communication between you and God possible.
The core of Christianity is not the strict observance of any rules, but it is about a personal relationship with Jesus or God. Thus, there is no such thing as “the” prayer posture.
The correct prayer attitude in Christianity is the one that emphasizes your personal connection or current urgency of the message.
If you are angry, cry out to God. If you are sad, show God your sadness. If you want to give Him the finger – do just that! When you are happy, thank God. If you feel like singing a song to God…you get the concept.
And most importantly, if you feel remorse, go before God with a repentant gesture. But do not pretend.
Tips for learning honest prayer postures
Especially in prayer environments where hands are folded and eyes are closed, it can be difficult to pray uninhibitedly. My recommendation here is: Try the opposite! Keep your eyes open when you pray, hold your hands up and stand when you talk to God.
Yes, this feels very strange at first. You will probably have to get used to not praying the way other people do.
On the other hand, the following thought may help you: When you talk to your friends, do you always talk to them the same way? If you are having a bad day, you will have a different posture than if you have just fallen in love.
Don’t disguise that posture – at least not before God. He knows how you feel anyway. Be so honest with Him and show Him when you talk to Him.
Prayer positions in the Bible
Maybe you are afraid to make a fool of yourself in front of God. On the one hand, this is good (it shows respect for God), on the other hand, God already knows some prayer postures from the Bible….
Abraham (Genesis 18:22) and Hannah (1 Sam 1:26), for example, stood directly before God, while Solomon (1 Kings 8:54) and Daniel (Daniel 6:10) knelt before God. Aaron (Deut. 16:22) and Jesus did (Matt. 26:39) lay directly on their noses.
Paul is said to have lifted his hands toward heaven; the tax collector in Luke 18:13, on the other hand, was moving (and repenting) in prayer.
Is there a specific position to pray?
I hope it is clear to you now what Christian prayer is really about: the honest relationship with God. Nevertheless, some attitudes have crept in that somehow everyone does. Maybe it’s just a human thing:
- Folding hands: Faithfulness and trust in God
- Lowered head: sign of reverence and submission
- Sitting: Willingness to receive God’s word
- Kneeling: Submission
- Standing: Attention
- closed eyes: concentration and blocking out the surroundings
- Opened hands: acceptance of the word of God and welcome of the Holy Spirit
- Lying down: Absolute submission to God
Summary: Does It Matter What Position You Pray In?
God does not prescribe a fixed attitude to prayer. God wants an honest prayer, which form you choose for it doesn’t matter. You don’t have to pray in a certain direction or repeat certain parts of the Bible – show and tell God how you feel;- then you have the correct prayer posture.