As a child, I was taught that when you pray you close your eyes and bow your head. Well, obviously that makes sense—because a kiddo with eyes open and hands available to touch and grab and reach is easily distracted. As an adult, I still default to that prayer posture.
Last week, though, I was talking with a friend in front of her home and, before we said goodbye, we stood on the steps, held hands, and asked God for some pretty bold things. Both of us had goose bumps (Holy Spirit bumps?) because we knew he was right there with us. (After all, he promised he would be there when two or three gather in his name.)
That got me thinking about other prayer postures—and I’ve been trying some since. Do you have to try these? Nope. Still, they might bless you with a fresh perspective on your prayers.
Kneeling to pray isn’t only a picture for little kids before bed. The Bible tells us that “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11).
Kneeling before Jesus reminds us of our place. It’s a great position to use to repent, to humble ourselves, and to ask God for mercy on our deepest needs—for our country, for violence in our schools and cities, for an end to trafficking, for families and marriages, for healing.
In many cultures, the deeper the bow, the more reverence you show. Because our God is supreme, “come, let us bow down in worship” (Psalm 95:6). I tried this last week for the first time in my life. I was awake before everyone else in our home (not unusual), and as I said my prayers, I bowed, worshiped, and prayed for spiritual protection over our home—and as I did, I pictured God commanding his angels concerning us to guard us in all our ways. (Still brings tears to my eyes to think of it.)
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:1,2). Jesus made peace with God for us, and that clears the way for us to come before him. My friend and I stood as God’s children, asking our Father for his good gifts.
Raise your hands
“Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing” (1 Timothy 2:8). When I raise my hands, it lifts my heart too—and I find that I praise God more, thankfully listing all the ways he is good and awesome and just and merciful. Plus, I sometimes picture God pouring out his abundant blessings into them, to overflow my cup.
Look up to heaven
When you’ve been focusing on this earth just a little too much, step outside and look up. “Lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1,2). Jesus ascended, and he’s coming back. Chin up!
And all God’s people said, “Amen!”
Linda Buxa is a writer and editor who usually doesn’t mind sharing her life stories. This time, though, she’s nervous because these prayer postures have been so incredibly personal and powerful. She’s not trying to be like the Pharisee who prayed to show off, but to encourage your personal prayer and worship life.