How do you pray?
Since I was young, I was taught to close my eyes, bow my head and close my eyes. I don't fault my parents for this...I do the same with my own child to keep his rambunctious-ness in check!
It wasn't until about 3rd grade that I had an inkling that some people pray differently than others. My father had been invited to speak at an African-American church. When it came time to pray, I folded my hands and bowed my head.
The pray-er asked for God's help for Sister Johnson, who was suffering some malady, when, to my surprise, a man in front of me almost yelled, "That's right, Lord!"
I didn't know you could talk during prayer!
If your prayer life is stale, here are some other prayer postures found in the Bible. Try them out!
1. Open Your Eyes - The Bible mentions several times that people "raised their eyes toward heaven" when they spoke to God. When we close our eyes, sometimes we miss out on prayer opportunities. With our eyes open, we can see those who need help. We can notice drivers and pray for safety. We can notice the color green! (John 17:1, Psalm 123:1-3)
2. Lift Your Hands - I love 1 Timothy 2:8..."I want men everywhere to lift holy hands in prayer, without anger and disputing." I find it terribly ironic (and funny, and hypocritical) that one of the things we ARGUE about is whether or not it's OK to raise our hands!! I have heard several things that help me when I think of the concept of lifting holy hands to God in prayer. (a) It's like a child reaching for their mommy or daddy. In other words, I just want to be held by God! (b) It's showing God our empty hands. We have nothing to bring to Him but ourselves. (c) It's a sign of surrender. When someone sticks a gun in your back, you lift your hands in surrender. All of these are GREAT things to ponder when in prayer!
3. Kneel - "Come let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the LORD, our God, our Maker." (Psalm 95:6) Vassals in the medieval age would kneel before their king to show respect and honor. It's humbling to put your knee(s) to the ground for another person. We should kneel before our King..the King of kings!
4. Lying Prostrate - Lying facedown, spread-eagled is the most uncomfortable prayer position ever. It's also the most humbling. In this position, you are like a child waiting to be picked up. It's also humbling because anyone could come and attack you, but you are defenseless. They could put their boot in your back and you could do nothing about it. The verses that talk about this prayer posture are some of the most heart-wrenching, sorrowful stories in the Bible. This is not a position you would ask others to do in church...this one is completely personal. It is the moment you realize you have turned away from God and need to get back. (Deuteronomy 9:13-19, 2 Samuel 12:16, 1 Kings 18:25-39.)
Please remember, these are not the only ways you can pray! You can pray standing or sitting, at morning or at night, out loud or silently, with others or alone. The point is not how you hold your hands, but that you simply speak with God. He is waiting to hear from you!