The Power of a Proper “Prayer Posture”
Prayer changes things. That’s not just a bumper sticker … it’s a fundamental truth you believe and depend upon as a follower of Christ. But how you pray is important. “Lord, teach us to pray” was the plea made by the disciples to Jesus (Luke 11:1, ESV.) That request suggests praying effectively requires certain things. It begins with the proper prayer posture.
This isn’t about standing up straight when praying, or whether you should kneel at an altar or lift your hands in the air. It’s about the posture of your heart and your attitude. And this can make all the difference—for you and for your family. Here are some things to remember as you come before the Lord:
Admit your shortcomings
As a counselor, I find it difficult to help individuals who know the diagnosis and the cure before walking in the door. These people don’t really want help—they want to have their viewpoint affirmed. They take the same attitude when visiting the doctor, calling the plumber, or hiring an attorney … always thinking they know what’s best. Is that the way you approach God? “Lord, I need $___, and I need it now.” “Straighten out this child today.” “Make my spouse understand this or that.” “Send a plague upon my boss and get him off my back.”
Start your prayer by acknowledging your weaknesses and limited understanding. Do you have a role in the issue burdening you? Be humble and malleable as you enter into prayer. Confess your sins and accept your weaknesses. Don’t demand that God embrace your preconceived solution. And above all, remember that pride will constrict your communications with God.
As you pray, contemplate the effect your request—if God chooses to answer it affirmatively—may have not just on you, but on others. Perhaps He has you in a particular place, painful or unpleasant though it may be, to teach you an important lesson … or so that you can influence and bless someone who’s lost or hurting. Are you willing to be in that place, if it’s His will? “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit,” says Philippians 2:3 (ESV), “but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”
Be prepared to respond
The items at the top of your prayer list are likely things generating anxiety, discouragement, or even depression—emotions that can push you into a trap of inactivity. As you pray, trust that God will use you in bringing about an answer—you’re not going to be a bystander. Do you need a job? Believe God will provide one, but sharpen up your resume and start looking in the meantime. Are you praying for a spouse to return? Focus on ways you can be a better marriage partner now. Seeking relief from insurmountable bills? What can you do today to improve your financial savvy? There is always ONE THING you can do today while you are waiting on the Lord. Don’t be idle!
For many people, prayer is a one-sided list of demands which makes its appearance only after fire alarms are ringing. God wants more than that in His relationship with you! And you’ll discover much more power in your prayers when you approach Him humbly, with the right posture.
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