lay me down to sleep

September 18, 2021

Stand up straight. Don’t slouch when you sit.”

For most of us, this is our first lesson in “correct” posture. As children we quickly learn there’s a right way (the way we are told to do it) and a wrong way (our natural slouch) to stand and sit.

So is there a correct posture for prayer, a proper way to position our bodies? No. Which is fortunate because the requirement to “pray continually” would be much more difficult to heed if we had to always assume a specific position, such as kneeling, before we could pray.

What matters is not the alignment of our limbs but the orientation of our heart. As evangelist Billy Graham said, “It is not the body’s posture, but the heart’s attitude that counts when we pray.”

When we look to the Bible, we find that God’s people engaged in a variety of positions when they prayed:

➤ Standing (see Ge 24:12–14)

➤ Bowing down (see Ex 34:8)

➤ Sitting (see Jdg 20:26)

➤ Placing the head between the knees (see 1Ki 18:42)

➤ Kneeling (see Mk 1:40)

➤ Looking upward (see Jn 17:1)

➤ Lifting the hands (see 1Ti 2:8)

As John Macarthur says, “True prayer is characterized by an attitude of humility before God—not the physical posture of the person praying.” Our bodies can even be at variance with what we feel inside. “There are moments when, whatever the posture of the body, the soul is on its knees,” said novelist Victor Hugo.

That the heart, rather than the head or knee, be bowed in submission is what matters most to God. But while there is no Biblically required position, here are three choices to consider for prayer:

  1. Choosing a priority stance—Do we pray at our desk, as if checking off a task on our daily agenda? Do we pray in our car only when the commercials come on the radio? The problem is not the desk or the car, for we should be able to pray anywhere. The problem is that, when we do this, we might be slipping prayer only into the downtime between our other, more “essential” tasks, rather than choosing an intentional time to focus only on God.

  2. Choosing whether to close our eyes—When we pray we tend to close our eyes because it helps us shut out distractions and focus on the Creator. Closing our eyes becomes such a habit, though, that we often assume the posture of our eyelids is sufficient to get us in a prayerful state. But what happens when we try to say our evening and morning prayers while lying in bed with our eyes closed? When the same posture we use for prayer is also used for “Now I lay me down to sleep,” it’s not surprising that we’d have trouble focusing on God. Close your eyes only when doing so won’t become a distraction itself.

  3. Choosing to get on our knees—There is nothing magical about kneeling in prayer, of course. But kneeling has a way of revealing a humbleness of spirit. Indeed, the act of kneeling can reveal to us (for God already knows our hearts) how willing we are to submit in reverence to our King. 1 Kings 18:42

God bless from

Please keep my son Matthew in prayer as we wait for Tuesday to come and find out (we hope) what exactly this mass is in his back.

Keep Nicole in prayer, 31 weeks pregnant and in the hospital with covid and on oxygen.

Keep Steve H in prayer, blessings and encouragement and his wife Pam with healing of her knees.

2 Responses to “lay me down to sleep”

  1. steveknife said

    Praying for all and thank you for the prayers

  2. always appreciate the encouragement

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