09 February 2011

Prayer Posture

Did you know Joseph warned the men of Zion's Camp "to be careful about their posture while praying"? He said

When we Kneel to pray we should be in a graceful manner such as would not cause a disgusting impression to arise in the mind of any spectator. (Bushman 241)
I read that and think of all the times that I pray while traveling or while sprawled across the bed or shriveled on the floor in exhaustion at the beginning or ending of a day. I think the important thing is that I am praying. And I don't pray to have the praise of men, though I guess I should show more respect to this most holy of communicative acts.

Am I the only one with bad prayer posture?


  1. Insisting on perfect prayer posture, like insisting on formal, KJV language, is a great way to distance yourself from God.

    Keep praying while sprawled across your bed or shriveled on the floor--I have a hard time believing God objects to the posture or language of sincere prayer.

  2. Adding "prayer posture" to the list of "Things I Suck At"


  3. Just a note to tell you that your blog is interesting and beautiful. And here's another note to tell you I appreciated the kind encouraging comment you left on my blog last week. Thank you. And keep writing.

  4. I don't think posture matters nearly as much as intention and attitude. I read a post on Buddhist meditation a few weeks back about this guy going on a journey in search of a teacher to help him learn the higher teachings and forms of meditation. One Buddhist teacher he met up with asked him where and how he meditates and the guy responded that he meditates on his cushion in front of his altar. The Buddhist teacher laughed at him and said that you should cultivate a mind that is capable of meditating at any time in any place.

    I believe this is true of prayer, as prayer is a form of meditation. It is a communication with the Higher Power you believe in and devote your practice to.

    When one spends time in devotion to their HP, it's the heart and mind that matters, not what people around you think. Spiritual practice is personal and as long as you feel connected to your HP, that's all that matters!

    That's my position on the matter. :)

  5. I feel like a complete hypocrite harping at my kids to sit up straight during family prayers. They only imitate what they've seen me doing!I do find myself more focused and deeply praying when I'm kneeling properly, but sometimes it's just not in me and a prayer offered under the covers with my head on the pillow is still a prayer registered up above.

  6. I am guilty.

    For personal prayer in private I think posture is merely utilitarian: if kneeling (or whatever) a certain way helps me focus and commune then it's worth worrying about; else-wise, no.

    I think posture is more important for personal prayer in shared space or for collective prayer. IMHO, the "kneeling face-plant" posture can "cause a disgusting impression to arise in the mind of any spectator" ---especially depending on which direction the derrière(s) is aimed and on the state of (un)dress.

    I also find that when praying as a group, our posture can communicate unity and seriousness of intent.

  7. Edje, you have some good points about praying in a group. I haven't had that experience for many years, well, over ten, and I forgot. Yes, posture when in a group is important (learned all about that as a teacher and public speaker!).

    (Previous comment under the name "agirlandherboy" - blog moved recently.)