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I enjoy praying lying in bed just before I sleep ... until I fall asleep. In church I usually pray with my hands simply by my side or even with my hands in my pockets. I just let them stay wherever they are.

However I have seen that many people change positions before they pray, often clasping their hands together or opening them towards something.

Is there anything particularly wrong with praying lying in bed or with your hands in your pockets? Is there any particular reason one must change positions to begin praying?

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Certainly you don't have to... but what are you trying to find? –  deps_stats Sep 3 '11 at 2:07
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well when I pray in my church I usually just leave my hands in my pocket, but everyone is praying with their hands together, hence the question –  Pacerier Sep 3 '11 at 2:37
    
Now I understand your question. But why don't you try to use your body posture to show reverence during prayer? I think that you can do better if you take your hands out of your pockets –  deps_stats Sep 3 '11 at 2:42
    
I'm not sure how having hands in pockets have anything to do with lack of reverence. Could you elaborate on that part ? –  Pacerier Sep 3 '11 at 3:00
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If you pray up-side down you risk potentially serious complications if you have high blood pressure, heart disease or glaucoma. –  Jenny Thomson Sep 3 '11 at 14:36

9 Answers 9

up vote 11 down vote accepted

No, you don't have to put you hands together. People usually put their hands together either as a sign of reverence or to help focus and get into a correct spiritual posture fir prayer or both.

You can pray in just about any manner you see fit, though. I'll often pray while driving (with my eyes open). I often see people praying with their hands raised. You can even lay flat on the floor with your hands spread out.

I think its import that you take a position that makes you comfortable, shows reverence to the Lord, and postures your heart to communicate with God.

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Though you can pray in any position, physical position does matter.

On the subject of why it might matter a monk wrote:

Be conscious of physical position as well as soul During prayer one should stand straight with ones eyes fixed on the icon or lowered to the ground, while, at the same time, the eyes of the soul, together with one's soulful aspirations, should be lifted up to God. This outward attitude of piety in prayer is both necessary and beneficial, for the disposition of the soul is in conformity with the disposition of the body.

(Eastern Christians pray in front of icons, usually.)

To further the point, kneeling and clasping hands, as well as standing upright seem to be try to achieve the same thing; matching the proper disposition of soul with that of body, with the idea in mind that they are connected.

If you wished to beseech, say, your best friend to help you, what position would you speak to them in? And what about someone far greater than they? This is the reasoning behind selecting a physical position, whether it be standing up straight or kneeling reverently.

The final point is that it is considered that the position of the body will affect the disposition of the soul, and thus while it is better to pray than to not pray, it is better to pray in a position which reflects the disposition you'd wish your soul to have.

  • Standing upright reflects alertness, vigilance, readiness
  • Kneeling reflects devotion, reverence, acceptance

etc.,

To conclude I would say there is nothing wrong with praying supine, but that your position will affect the way you pray, and that there may be a better way.

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I just read this in the new YouCat.

Sitting, Standing, Kneeling and Prostrating yourself each, through your body indicate different ways of relating to God.

It's easier to practice lectio divina while sitting.

It's easier to stand together in a group and pray.

It's easier to worship on your knees, and requires more patience.

It's easier to submit yourself with your face on the ground.

Check it out!

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When I first read YouCat, I thought it must be some new Youtube + lolcat site... –  Flimzy Sep 27 '11 at 16:23

A variety of positions are described in the Bible - lifting one's eyes, lifting hands, prostrate on the ground, in secret, etc

There is no "right" way to pray (outside of our attitude) - but there are MANY wrong ways to do it.

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Can you name a few wrong ways, assuming you are still talking about positions? –  Wikis Sep 27 '11 at 15:49
    
@Wikis - the position is amoral: it's the attitude that determines how prayers are responded to (from the human perspective) –  warren Sep 27 '11 at 16:07
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So you mean: "there is no right position, there are many wrong attitudes"? –  Wikis Sep 27 '11 at 18:05
    
@Wikis - yes, that's what my answer is getting at : updated my answer for clarity –  warren Sep 27 '11 at 18:24
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Thanks Warren ! –  Wikis Sep 27 '11 at 18:26

There is no correct or certain posture for prayer. In the Bible people prayed on their knees (1 Kings 8:54), bowing (Exodus 4:31), on their faces before God (2 Chronicles 20:18; Matthew 26:39), and standing (1 Kings 8:22). You may pray with your eyes opened or closed, quietly or out loud—however you are most comfortable and least distracted.

http://christianity.about.com/od/prayersverses/a/basicstoprayer.htm

1 Kings 8:54 NIV

When Solomon had finished all these prayers and supplications to the LORD, he rose from before the altar of the LORD, where he had been kneeling with his hands spread out toward heaven.

Exodus 4:31 NIV

and they believed. And when they heard that the LORD was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped.

2 Chronicles 20:18 NIV

Jehoshaphat bowed down with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the LORD.

Matthew 26:39 NIV

Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

1 Kings 8:22

Then Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in front of the whole assembly of Israel, spread out his hands toward heaven

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It is said in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to pray continually, so you don't have to care about the positions of the body, because if you're praying continually, you pray in every position, so just pray in every moment.

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This is not complicated; just Pray. We know that The Lord knows our heart, as he is all knowing. If you prefer to kneel or assume a biblical Praying Position that is fine. If you prefer Praying lying in bed, this is fine as well.

There are many people who have no other choice but to Pray lying down. The quadrapelegics have found out that Praying to The Lord in Jesus' name can be done in a myriad of positions including the position that they assume most of the time.... Sitting down.

If you want to Pray upside down, right side up, left side up .. etc., fine. Just Pray as often as you can.

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Welcome to the site. As a new visitor, I'd recommend checking out the following posts, which are meant to help newcomers "learn the ropes": help page, How we are different than other sites? and What makes a good supported answer? –  David Stratton Nov 11 '13 at 13:14

In fact , the position is not the strong point in order to connect with God , not to take the whole Bible , not to discuss religion, if you are consentrado in their faith in God , you are connected to it , we should not believe everything have you heard this right also in the Bible , but you 'll have to read several pages , because you can not take a phrase from the book of life and use only one, would you choose and translate everything , so you have time to do, but in everything , remember , you do not need to be in a position to speak with God , because one day you can this in a room lying on a sick bed unable to get up , even so God will be with you , waiting for your prayers . if this is the case you will not be sinning . But God also deserves your respect , consider a dog , if he does not do everything a man wants , the man would be sad do not you think ? so if you are doing well and not get up and get in position for resar God also would be sad . hope this helps everyone improve .

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This answer would be a lot better if you could add references showing that this is a common understanding, and who teaches/believes it. Remember that "I believe it means..." isn't an acceptable answer, since this site isn't about personal interpretation. See How we are different than other sites? and What makes a good supported answer? –  David Stratton Nov 11 '13 at 13:12

Questioning the significane of externals is a rather new phenomenon. Those familiar with Christian art and history know, that for literally thousands of years the Saints of God naturally tried to match their outward position with their inward disposition. A lot gets lost today: Men pray with baseball caps on their heads, wearing T-shirts with inappropriate printing on them, hands in their pockets. Women come to church likewise, uncovered with questionable attire (1Co 11 turned upside down, right?) Of course no one kneels anymore; - but where is awe, reverence, the sense of God's majesty? There are unseen, spirtual and divine realities that are to be made visible by our behavior. Since God's word is quite specific on these issues we don't have to guess about it, nor "invent" any new practice. What's been in use for thousands of years in the whole church cannot be classified as a matter of "ancient custom", but - indeed - as Christian.

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I get that you're trying to say that we should be conservative in how we pray, but you haven't actually said if the conservative belief is that physical positions matter or not! –  curiousdannii May 30 at 8:37

protected by David Stratton Nov 11 '13 at 13:13

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