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Nine Moons » Blog Archive : Prayer stances » Prayer stances

Prayer stances

Don - October 12, 2004

In SS this week we talked about prayer, where, how, vain repetitions etc. I have since thought more about my own prayer and manerisms.

A few years ago while visiting the Church Museum in SLC I noticed a picture of a sacrament meeting. The brother blessing the Sacrament is kneeling behind the table with both his arms raised to the square while praying. I thought how curious.

In different settings I have referred to this and that I have adopted this prayer position on different occasions. I rarely use it, but when I do, I find my consentration goes up…my arms get heavy and it helps add “something” for me.

In writing this blog I’ve now decided I’m going to try a new “position”. I’ve never prayed laying flat on the floor, I’m going to try it.

Something I’ve thought about doing but haven’t yet is raising my hands in a particular way as demonstrated in the Temple and using the words used there. If it is ok for Adam to pray that way and it’s used in the Endowment then does that make it ok for me to use in my personal prayers?

I’m not trying to be weird about prayer. I just find kneeling, slumped over/onto my bed sometimes doesn’t give me the effect I’m needing.

1 Comment »

  1. Well, Brigham Young and others prayed that way in more places than just the temple:

    http://www.helpingmormons.org/ TL…HanksPaper.html

    Forgive me for the fundamentalist source but the information is true.
    yac | Email | Homepage | 10.12.04 – 5:55 pm | #

    Hmmm…I agree to an extent. Folding arms, clasping hands together, even closing our eyes are all just recommended to help us keep our focus on God as we pray. (At least as far as I know) I say, do whatever helps you focus on our Father in Heaven and what you want to ask/thank Him for. That is, when you pray in your closet. Doing unorthodox things during public prayers can be distracting to others in the prayer.
    As for praying as Adam does in the temple, I don’t know about that, considering the convenants made concerning the way that prayer is said. I would leave to the times (if any) when prompted by the spirit to pray that way or intructed to do so by priesthood authority. There are plenty of other ways to keep focus to help us help God hear us.
    Bret | Email | Homepage | 10.12.04 – 8:19 pm | #

    I’ve kinda tried praying by being flat on the floor, except it was in bed as I’m on my way to sleep. Does that count?
    Sister T | Email | Homepage | 10.12.04 – 11:20 pm | #

    There’s actually very little instruction about prayer stances in the scriptures. I don’t mean that there aren’t descriptions of prayer stances but I can’t think of anyplace where the scriptures actually teach us to close our eyes or fold our arms or kneel or stand or anything specific. My view of this is that it means we can pray in a variety of stances and bodily positions — depending on our individual situation.

    I get an evil little kick out of telling people that when I’m criticized for having my eyes open during a group prayer … (though usually I do close my eyes).
    danithew | Email | Homepage | 10.13.04 – 12:07 pm | #

    By the way, have you tried davening at all? I never saw this Jewish prayer practice (of moving or swaying back and forth while standing) until I lived in Israel.

    I need to look up davening a bit and try to understand whether it has a basis in scripture or reasoning. My initial conclusions is that it must be a way to stay alert/awake during prolonged prayer but that might not be the reason at all.
    danithew | Email | Homepage | 10.13.04 – 2:28 pm | #

    I was thinking about breaking up my prayer position by speaking them loudly from a tall, isolated, “holy stand.” Anyone with me?
    Bret | Email | Homepage | 10.13.04 – 5:27 pm | #

    I’ll join you, Bret. But only if you give me, word-for-word, the prayer I should say. I’ve had enough of trying to come up with it all myself!
    Amy | Email | Homepage | 10.13.04 – 11:12 pm | #

    Hmm Im in too Bret, only can I pay you to pray for me instead? I just dont think its a good use of my time.
    Bryce | Email | Homepage | 10.14.04 – 5:01 am | #

    There is in certain Protestant denominations (and among those who claim to be non-denominational Christians) a considerable amount of talk about how to pray–that is, what position to take while praying.

    The source of the talk is I Timothy 2:8, where Paul writes “I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting . . . ”
    Mark B | Email | Homepage | 10.14.04 – 12:25 pm | #

    Mark,
    If you read that 1 Tim 2:8 carefully you can see how it could very well refer to the prayer circle in the temple!
    Don | Email | Homepage | 10.14.04 – 2:03 pm | #

    Sorry I missed this thread…

    One of the most common ways to pray in Israel and the ANE was with hands up, palms outward (though the Egpytians distinguished between palms facing you and palms away.) You find this throughout the OT (Isa. 1:18, 1 Kings 8:22,54, etc.), NT (the aforementioned 1 Timothy 2:, BoM (Alma 31:14 and perhaps one other), BoA (Abr. 1:15 and Abraham’s hand position in facsimile 2).

    Essentially, praying this way exposes the hands (representing actions) and heart (the center of thought and emotion for israelites) to God, and is an invitation to be judged and found worthy in both thought and deed. Psalm 24:3-4 gives a nice little bit of this. Who enters the temple? He with clean hands and a pure heart, ie. “The one whose deeds are blameless and whose motives are pure…” (NET Bible).

    I’ll cut myself off here, but there’s a passel of papers on it at http://home.uchicago.edu/~spackm…n/ temple#prayer

    The sacrament was indeed blessed in this way, but I’ve never found any good sources on it.

    I know that members of the church have prayed this way in the past, and I’ve thought about it myself, and always decided it would feel too strange. There are plenty of references in church history to individuals “offering up the signs” and praying, though.
    Ben S. | Email | Homepage | 11.02.04 – 11:18 am | #

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