UNDERSTANDING POSTURES OF PRAYER

UNDERSTANDING POSTURES OF PRAYER

Let your posture express the attitudes of your heart
In the biblical accounts of prayer, many postures are described .

ABRAHAM FELL UPON HIS FACE BEFORE GOD.

(Gen 17:3 NKJ)
Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying:

(Gen 17:17 NKJ)
Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, “Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?”

Moses prayed with his hand outstretched

MOSES PRAYED WITH HIS HAND OUTSTRETCHED

(Exo 9:29 NKJ)
So Moses said to him, “As soon as I have gone out of the city, I will spread out my hands to the LORD; the thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail, that you may know that the earth is the LORD’S.

KING SOLOMON KNELT IN PRAYER

(1Ki 8:54 NKJ)
And so it was, when Solomon had finished praying all this prayer and supplication to the LORD, that he arose from before the altar of the LORD, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven.

JESUS PRAYED LOOKING UP INTO HEAVEN

(Mar 6:41 NKJ)
And when He had taken the five loaves and the two fish, He looked up to heaven, blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to His disciples to set before them; and the two fish He divided among them all.

(Joh 11:41 NKJ)
Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying  And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.

(Joh 17:1 NKJ)
Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You,

Communication with god does not require a certain physical position, but postures do give expression to the attitudes of our hearts. Here we will look at eight postures of prayer,

(Mat 5:3 NKJ)
Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

(Mat 5:4 NKJ)
Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.

(Mat 5:5 NKJ)
Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.

(Mat 5:6 NKJ)
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.

(Mat 5:7 NKJ)
Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.

(Mat 5:8 NKJ)
Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.

(Mat 5:9 NKJ)
Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.

(Mat 5:10 NKJ)
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

(Mat 5:11 NKJ)
Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.

LYING PROSTRATE BEFORE GOD

No position symbolizes humility better than being on our face before god. This position of prayer demonstrates the beatitude of being poor in spirit. When Jesus described himself, he said he was

(Mat 5:29 NKJ)
If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.

A wise way to begin each day is to get on our face before god and acknowledge our unworthiness, inadequacy, and inability to accomplish his will. Should ask for his mercy, trusting that his strength and goodness will sustain us throughout the day

Lying prostrate before god expresses the following attitudes

1 .IT IS AN ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF OUR TOTAL UNWORTHINESS.

When god made a covenant with Abraham, Abraham recognized his unworthiness before god and “ fell on his face before the lord

(Gen 17:1 NKJ)
When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless.

(Gen 17:22 NKJ)
Then He finished talking with him, and God went up from Abraham

2 .IT IS RECOGNITION OR THE NEED FOR GOD’s MERCY,

When the leper came to Jesus for healing, he fell on his face and begged for mercy, saying, “lord if thou wilt, canst make me clean”

(Luk 5:12 NKJ)
And it happened when He was in a certain city, that behold, a man who was full of leprosy saw Jesus; and he fell on his face and implored Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”

3 .IT IS A RIGHT RESPONSE TO A SERIOUS CRISIS

Often when the leaders of Israel faced impossible situations and knew that only god could deliver them, they fell on their faces before him and sought his aid.

(Num 20:6 NKJ)
So Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly to the door of the tabernacle of meeting, and they fell on their faces. And the glory of the LORD appeared to them.

(Jos 7:6 NKJ)
Then Joshua tore his clothes, and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of the LORD until evening, he and the elders of Israel; and they put dust on their heads

KNEELING BEFORE GOD

When we repent of our sins, we appeal to the lord for his mercy and forgiveness. Kneeling before the lord is a symbol of the heart attitude we should have to make such a petition. It reflects the beatitude of mourning over sin and expresses the following

1 .IT ACKNOWLEDGES THE LORDSHIP OF JESUS CHRIST
Kneeling before god provides a image of submission to his authority. One day every knee will bow before god, and every tongue will confess that Jesus is lord to the glory of god.

(Phi 2:10 NKJ)
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,

2 .IT IS A SIGN OF EARNEST APPEAL.

King Solomon knelt when he asked god to bless the temple and the people of god

(1Ki 8:54 NKJ)
And so it was, when Solomon had finished praying all this prayer and supplication to the LORD, that he arose from before the altar of the LORD, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven.

Elijah knelt in earnest prayer when he asked the lord to send rain to end Israel’s drought

(1Ki 18:42 NKJ)
So Ahab went up to eat and drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; then he bowed down on the ground, and put his face between his knees,

3 .IT IS A SIGN OF PERSONAL HUMILITY.

The psalmist humbled himself before the lord and encouraged others to do the same.

(Psa 95:6 NKJ)
Oh come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.

BOWING BEFORE THE LORD

One who bows before god conveys an attitude of honor,
Gratitude, and faith, acknowledging that all things come from his hand. When job suffered great losses he bowed down on the ground.

(Job 1:20 NKJ)
Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped.

This position of prayer reflects the beatitude of meekness and expresses the following attitudes.

1 .IT IS A SIGN OF REVERENCE
In some cultures, one who wants to express and respect for another will bow before him. Deeper the bow, the greater the respect he shows.

2 .IT IS AN EXPRESSION OF WORSHIP

When god answered the prayer of Abraham’s servant, the man ”worshiped the lord, bowing himself to the earth”

(Gen 24:52 NKJ)
And it came to pass, when Abraham’s servant heard their words, that he worshiped the LORD, bowing himself to the earth

STANDING BEFORE THE LORD
To stand before a ruler indicates that you have a legal right to be there. It is only through the righteousness of jesus Christ that we are able to approach god as his children: we have an advocate with the father,

JESUS CHRIST THE RIGHTEOUS

(1Jo 2:1 NKJ)
My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous

This position of prayer reflects the beatitudes of hungering and thirsting for righteousness and expresses the following attitudes.

1 .IT REPRESENTS OUR POSITION IN CHRIST’s RIGHTEOUSNESS.

Rom 5:1 NKJ)
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have1 peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

2 .IT SYMBOLIZES OUR PREPARATION FOR BATTLE.

(Eph 6:13 NKJ)
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

3 .IT SHOWS READINESS TO SERVE

One expression that describes serving another person, especially a sovereign, is to “stand before “ that person. Daniel and his companions were to serve the king after a period of preparation,

(Dan 1:5 NKJ)
And the king appointed for them a daily provision of the king’s delicacies and of the wine which he drank, and three years of training for them, so that at the end of that time they might serve before the king.

(Rom 6:18 NKJ)
And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.

SETTING BEFORE THE LORD

In scripture, sitting is a position of authority. When the king or rulers of a city sat in their official places, they were in a position to rule and judge and to have their judgments carried out. This prayer position reflects the beatitude of giving and receiving mercy, and it expresses the following attitudes

1 .IT REMINDS US THAT ALL BELIEVERS ARE SEATED WITH CHRIST IN HEAVEN.

When we recognize our sinful conditions before god, repent of our sins, and believe on Jesus Christ we are adopted by god. we are seated with Christ at the right hand of the father.

(Eph 2:6 NKJ)
and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

2 .IT REPRESENTS GOD’s CALL TO FORGIVE OFFENDERS.

JESUS TOLD HIS DISCIPLES,

(Mat 6:15 NKJ)
But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

(Eph 4:32-1 NKJ)
And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.

LOOKING UP TO HEAVEN

Looking a person in the face indicates confidence and honesty. It is indicative of an open, trusting relationship. The gospels record many instances when Jesus prayed, looking up into heaven. This position of prayer reflects the beatitude of being pure in heart and expresses the following attitudes

1 .IT DEMONSTRATES WHERE OUR HELP COMES FROM.

Looking up to god in prayer serves as a testimony that we are putting our hope in him and waiting on him for help

(Psa 121:1 NKJ)
A Song of Ascents.> I will lift up my eyes to the hills– From whence comes my help?

(Psa 121:2 NKJ)
My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.

2 .IT DISPLAYS CONFIDENT FAITH.

At the tomb of Lazarus, Jesus prayed with faith and thanksgiving before he raised Lazarus from the dead

(Joh 11:41 NKJ)
Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying1. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.

(Joh 11:42 NKJ)
And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.

3 .IT INDICATES INTIMATE FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD.

Jesus never sinned. He enjoyed perfect fellowship with his heavenly father. When he prayed on the night before his crucifixion

(Joh 17:1 NKJ)
Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You,

(Joh 17:2 NKJ)
as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should1 give eternal life to as many as You have given Him

STRETCHING FORTH THE ARM

THE APOSTLE PAUL WROTE TO TIMOTHY

(1Ti 2:4 NKJ)
who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

(1Ti 2:8 NKJ)
I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting

In the scriptures, the outstretched arm was symbolic of seeking god’s mercy and blessing.

1 .IT APPEALS TO GOD’s SOVEREIGN POWER.

Before pharaoh released the people of Israel from slavery, god sent ten plagues to the nation of Egypt

(Exo 9:29 NKJ)
So Moses said to him, “As soon as I have gone out of the city, I will spread out my hands to the LORD; the thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail, that you may know that the earth is the LORD’S.

(Exo 17:11 NKJ)
And so it was, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.

LEAPING FOR JOY

Rather than being discouraged and defeated by trials and persecution, we are

(Mat 5:12 NKJ)
Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you

It displays absolute confidence in god’s faithfulness.

AT SPORTING EVENTS. LOYAL FANS LEAP FOR JOY WHEN THEIR TEAM WINE.

(2Co 4:17 NKJ)
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,

(2Co 4:18 NKJ)
while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

2 .IT CONFIRMS THAT ETERNAL THINGS ARE OUR HIGHEST PRIORITY.

Personal possessions, reputation, or health may be lost as a result of persecution. However, compared to the eternal rewards we gain through such suffering, these losses are less significant. Paul said

(Rom 8:18 NKJ)
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

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