And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you your wrongdoing. Mark 11:25
As I first took this week’s scripture out of my box and read it, my mind quickly went to the important and obvious point about forgiving others if we desire to be forgiven by God. Also, unforgiveness can be a barrier to answered prayers and hearing from God. Our hearts need to be cleaned out so the static and noise don’t override the voice of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
However, that’s not what I studied or reflected on this week. As I reread the scripture something new stood out to me that I hadn’t noticed after reading this verse over and over again in the course of my life. The words “stand praying” would not leave me alone, so I dug deeper to gain a better understanding of why this verse was so specific about the posture of prayer.
After some research, I found several scriptures that mentioned standing in prayer. In Luke 18:11, the Pharisee stood and prayed, in 1 Samuel 1:26, Hannah states she is the woman who stood and prayed and in Matthew 6:5 we are encouraged not to stand praying in public for attention, but that is due to pride and being seen not because they were standing. Apparently, one of the most common prayer postures for the Jewish people was standing. It symbolizes and celebrates the freedom and privilege we have to approach the Creator of the Universe, our Heavenly Father, and request His guidance, forgiveness, favor, and blessings. If you think about it, anyone who is allowed to go before a king usually stands and delivers their request. However, sometimes in humility, they also kneel.
Kneeling is another prayer posture. It shows great humility, reverence and it is also supported by Scripture. In 1 Kings 18:42 we see Elijah kneeling at the top of Mount Carmel, in 1 Kings 8:54 Solomon arises from kneeling at the altar in prayer to God and in Daniel 6:10 we learn the reason for his trip to the lion’s den was his commitment to getting on his knees in prayer three times a day.
I pray all over the place! In my prayer closet, car, shower, walking my dog, sitting in carpool and many other places. Those specific locations aren’t mentioned in Scripture, but all of those things fall into some place between standing and kneeling. I pray you won’t let rules or ideas of what you (or others) think prayer is supposed to look like get in the way of talking to your Heavenly Father. He just wants to hear from you. He knows your heart and when you are seeking Him with a humble, grateful and open one He hears your request. No matter what position or location you may be calling on Him from, I pray you trust He is listening. Because He is listening . . . always!