The Power of Prayer Posture

prayerI know I probably say this with every post, but The Circle Maker is truly changing the way I think and pray. And this section on thinking long is no exception.  These four chapters are filled with inspiring stories from Mark’s life about dreaming big, praying hard, and thinking long.

In chapter 13, Mark discusses prayer posture.  He says, “If words are what you say, then posture is how you say it” (page 152). Types of prayer postures that come from Scripture are: “kneeling, falling prostrate on one’s face, the laying on of hands, and anointing someone’s head with oil” (page 152).  Have you ever prayed in one of these types of posture?  I think I have tried all of these, although I haven’t anointed someone with oil, but someone has anointed me with oil.

I can remember a time when I was a child and I prayed by falling prostrate on my face (although at the time I had no idea it was a type of prayer posture).  I was sick with a stomach bug.  I had just thrown up and went back to my Mama’s room and fell on my face, crying out to God to take away this sickness.  I did not like throwing up and my stomach hurt so bad.  Who knows why I can recall that memory only to say that I was praying with a deep desperation for God to take away my pain.

What about your hands?  What are you doing with your hands when you pray?  We teach our kids to fold their hands, bow their heads, and close their eyes to pray.  But, what if when we pray, we turn our hands up.  Mark says that this represents a “posture of receptivity.  We actively receive what God wants to give” (page 152).  When we pray with our hands faced up we willing to accept all that God has to bless us with.  We are open to God and His will.

I graduated college with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology.  One of the classes I had to take was a Counseling class.  In that class we learned that when we meet with someone to counsel them we need to sit in a positive position, which includes open arms (not crossed) and uncrossed legs.  This signifies to the client that we are listening and we are hearing what they are saying.  If we crossed our arms or legs this symbolizes that we are closed off and don’t want to listen.  It was hard to make those changes as my normal sitting position is arms and legs crossed!

I have taken what I have learned in that counseling class and applied it to my prayer life.  If my posture is closed when I’m praying then I’m thinking God thinks I am not open and receptive to all that He wants to bless me with.  I try hard to remember to sit with hands open, to kneel, to lay prostrate on my face.  I want not only my words to say, “I am ready, Lord”, I want my prayer posture to say it too.

In that same chapter, Mark discusses how powerful your proximity to the person, place, or thing you are praying for can be.  He says that proximity “creates intimacy, authority, and is a way of marking God’s territory” (page 154).  He also goes on to say that “physical contact creates a spiritual conduit” (page 154).

The day I read that passage of the book, I was going to visit a friend and her daughter.  My friend’s daughter had just gotten home from being in the hospital for two weeks with an infection in her spine.  I had not been able to go to the hospital to see her, but had been praying daily for her healing.  When I went to visit her that day, I told her what I had read in The Circle Maker and asked if it was ok for me to pray for her right then and also to lay my hands on her back to where she felt the pain.  She and her mom immediately said yes and we prayed.  Right then and there.  And what an amazing, Spirit-filled prayer time we had.

Laying on of hands is a very powerful prayer posture.  Any chance I have of praying for a person, I try to pray with them at that moment they ask me to pray for them, and if I’m close to them, I will pray by laying on of hands.  Like Mark said, there’s just something about being near to the one you are praying and being able to physically touch them and speak God’s healing upon them.

As you pray this week, pay special attention to your posture.  How are you positioned when you pray?  Are you closed off or does your body show God that you are open to His blessings and that you surrender yourself to Him?  Are you falling at His feet or are you too busy to even sit still to pray?  Are you kneeling?  Are you spreading God’s power by laying on of hands?

My challenge to you is to practice one of these prayer postures this week.  And if you can and are in close proximity to the one you are praying for, lay your hands on them and pray for them.  It will be a blessing to both you and the one you are praying.

Journal Questions

  1. Do you think about your posture when you pray?  What is one change you can make in the way you pray?
  2. The Bible is filled with examples of people who fell prostrate on their face and prayed.  Read Genesis 17:1-6, 1 Chronicles 29:20, and Matthew 26:36-39.  Why did the people in each of these passages fall on their faces and pray?
  3. Read Acts 8:14-25.  What did Simon offer the apostles when they laid their hands on them?  Why did Peter tell Simon he needed to do?

2 thoughts on “The Power of Prayer Posture

  1. Elizabeth Braddock

    Great post Vanessa! I have never prayed with my hands turned up before, so I will be trying this!

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