Christians tend to overlook the fact that people are physical as well as spiritual. The science of Neurolingiustic Programming has demonstrated that we can affect our own emotions, and those of people we are talking to, by consciously changing our body position.
I have felt for a long time that the traditional evangelical posture of sitting when praying is really unhelpful. It makes our body too comfortable and tends to relax our minds so that we can have a tendency to zone out rather than engaging with the Holy Spirit. My personal preference is to stand and walk when I am interceding because that really helps me to stay focussed. That is probably related to my choleric personality type.
This morning I decided to prostrate myself before the Lord, to get low in order to focus on His greatness. After a few minutes I clearly heard Him say to me “Stand up, you are my son.” Last night it was right to lie down in repentance but today He wanted to honour me as His son so I stood.
This made me think about the postures in which we approach God. We need to think about what our bodies say about our heart attitude to the Lord. This is not a religious thing in which we dictate what we pray in different positions. We do not have to kneel to pray or face a particular direction. We do not have to pray at particular times or use particular words. We are physical people and our bodies, whether we think about it or not, are involved in our praying and worshipping.
Here are some common prayer postures that are helpful at particular times.
Prostrate– lying flat on my face, arms wide open. This is a position of humility and vulnerability. It is a place for intense repentance and surrender. “I am no longer my own, but yours.”
Kneeling. Again this is a position of humility. I am weak but you are strong. I find this is a place for deep intercession and groaning before the Lord. It’s uncomfortable but it reminds us that this is the place of prayer.
Standing. This is a place of assertive intercession and spiritual warfare. I am ready to enter the battle with Jesus against demonic hordes. When we stand we can confidently and boldly declare God’s purposes. Of course, I can walk or even march in this aggressive style of prayer.
Raised arms- praise, celebration. Yes I am a beloved son of the Most High God and He has set me free from my sin.
Be free in your praying. If you want to dance then dance. If you want to sing then sing. If you want to kneel then kneel. Experiment with different positions and places for prayer. Go deeper with the Lord.