I have vivid childhood memories of prayer meetings in my home church. The pastor or one of the deacons began with a passage of Scripture – very little teaching, just a reading of the passage. There were prayer requests and while we prayed for the sick, there was a strong focus on praying for those who did not know Jesus. Then everyone knelt at their pew on old, hard, tile floors.
Wednesday night prayer meetings were not the only time we knelt. There were times when we knelt at the altar in response to a message. When our family had devotions together, we knelt at the couch or by a chair. Kneeling seemed to be the preferred posture for prayer.
Kneeling certainly has some Biblical examples. Psalm 95:6 is an invitation to “let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for He is our God.” When Solomon prayed before the assembly, he knelt with his hands raised toward heaven. So another posture for prayer is with our hands raised toward heaven.
In a season of extreme intercession, Moses laid face down, prostrating himself before the Lord because the Lord had said He was going to destroy His people. For forty days he kept prostrating himself before the Lord (Deuteronomy 9:25). Moses, in the greatest form of humility, lay face down before the Lord in prayer.
In Luke 5:12, a leper, in an act of deep humility and desperation, fell face down before Jesus pleading to be cleansed of his leprosy.
Early in my ministry, I experienced a season of having no opportunity for spiritual conversation. I went into the sanctuary and laid face down in the middle aisle before the altar and prayed that the Lord would open doors. While I was praying, a stranger came knocking on the door of the church. He needed to talk to someone about God and felt drawn to our building!
The servant of Abraham, on a mission to find a wife for Isaac, bowed down and worshiped when the Lord led him to Rebecca.
In II Samuel 7:18, David “went in and sat before the Lord.” In Mark 11:25, Jesus said, “when you stand praying….” Whether lying prostrate before the Lord, kneeling or kneeling with hands raised to heaven, sitting or even standing, there is no one prescribed posture for prayer. The posture may be dictated by the nature of the prayer. It seems that the greater the burden, the lower the posture.
One morning recently, I was sitting in my usual place of prayer and was struggling to stay awake. I felt like the disciples in the garden when Jesus was betrayed. I decided to get up and go for a walk to pray. I felt a bit like the disciples on the road to Emmaus when Jesus “came up and walked with them.” As we walked together, I was able to tell Him what was on my heart and I was also able to listen to what He had on His heart.
If you want to keep your prayer life fresh, vary your posture. It is most important that you commune with Him.