Christian pray in many different ways depending on their culture, traditions, and beliefs, but in this article we will see what the Bible says on postures of praying.
Different Ways to Pray
If you read the whole Bible from beginning to end, you will not find one prescribed way of praying. What you will find is that God more interested in the heart of man than his outward appearance.
for God does not see as man sees, since man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.
–1 Samuel 16:7
It is clear from scripture that prayer is not dependent on position of our bodies.1 This does not mean that posture if not important, but that we will discuss later.
In the Bible we see many types of postures being practiced through the Old and New Testaments. Below are several examples of what is practiced.
But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to raise his eyes toward heaven, but was beating his chest, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’
Come, let’s worship and bow down, Let’s kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For this reason I bend my knees before the Father,
Then Moses and Aaron came in from the presence of the assembly to the entrance of the tent of meeting and fell on their faces. And the glory of the LORD appeared to them;
Then David the king came in and sat before the Lord, and he said, “Who am I, Lord God, and who are the members of my household, that You have brought me this far?
–2 Samuel 7:18
Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without anger and dispute.
–1 Timothy 2:8
Other references: Psalm 141:2
Lifting Your Eyes To Heaven
Jesus spoke these things; and raising His eyes to heaven, He said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, so that the Son may glorify You,
Other references: Luke 9:16
Praying in Bed
When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches,
Other references: Psalm 4:4
While prayer walking isn’t specifically mentioned in scripture it is a posture of prayer that is increasingly in use these days. The practice of prayer walking arises out of the verse below.2 Paul, the author of 1 Thessalonians, was not suggesting that we are to be praying 24/7, but instead that we should remember that God is always listening and that we can pray/talk to God anywhere, even while on the move. At all times in all places it is good for us to pray to God.
pray without ceasing,
–1 Thessalonians 5:17
Is Our Posture in Prayer Important?
It is true that God has given believers much freedom in the area of prayer. Some might conclude that this then means that one’s posture in prayer is not important. They could not be more wrong. Posture is indeed important to prayer.
The author C.S. Lewis addresses the subject of posture in prayer in his fictional book The Screwtape Letters. In the passage below, the author imagines one demon named Screwtape writing to another demon:
“One of their poets, Coleridge, has recorded that he did not pray “with moving lips and bended knees” but merely “composed his spirit to love” and indulged “a sense of supplication”. That is exactly the sort of prayer we want; and since it bears a superficial resemblance to the prayer of silence as practised by those who are very far advanced in the Enemy’s service, clever and lazy patients can be taken in by it for quite a long time. At the very least, they can be persuaded that the bodily position makes no difference to their prayers; for they constantly forget, what you must always remember, that they are animals and that whatever their bodies do affects their souls.”3
The above passage is from a book, not from the Bible, but there is much wisdom in what Lewis is saying through his characters. Humans are influenced by the position of their bodies. Experiment with this concept and see for yourself how the position of your body influences your prayer life.
Different Ways to Pray Graphic
Below is a helpful graphic that you can save to your phone and share with your friends. Freedom in posture in prayer is a blessing from God and God loves it when we join with others in prayer.