Life in Focus

Where following Jesus and Every Day Life Intersect

Advance Part 2: Postures of Prayer

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In my last posting, I shared the first few points from Beth Moore’s teaching at a Living Proof Live event I attended in Stockton, California. We began going through an acrostic: A-D-V-A-N-C-E based on Philippians 1:22-24. Last time we looked at her first two points:

A- A Kingdom is Coming

D- Dare to Advance It

This post will focus on the next two letters in the acrostic, which both involve prayer.

V- Vie Fiercely in Prayer

I took a peak at the definition of “vie” so that we’d all be clear on what this means. It is a verb meaning “to strive in competition or rivalry with another; to contend for superiority.” We are vying with Satan to see the Kingdom of God advanced while he attempts to thwart us. The way to claim territory for God is through praying fiercely!

Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:11-12)

Beth explained that we are not going to live bolder than we pray. We must access the resources God has given us. When we do this, our prayers become powerful and the gospel advances. We have to advance in our prayer lives before we can advance the kingdom of God on earth or we’ll be ill prepared to keep hold of the territory we claim for Christ. Beth admonished us saying that demons should shudder when we enter into prayer.

The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. (James 5:16b)

If you’re hesitant to think of yourself as righteous, keep this in mind: This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (Romans 3:22-24)

We claim righteousness for ourselves through accepting Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for our sins.   Once we realize our righteousness comes from Him alone, we gain access to the power of him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. (Ephesians 3:20)

If you’re feeling a bit unsure of how to advance in your prayer life, consider studying one of the many books written on prayer. Two that have had a lasting impact on me are Live a Praying Life by Jennifer Kennedy Dean and Lord, Teach Me to Pray by Kay Arthur. If you have a book that has impacted your prayer life, please comment below so that others can benefit from it.

A- Add Traction to Your Action

Beth encouraged us to think about our physical posture in prayer and challenged us to change it up from time to time to keep our prayer lives fresh.  This shouldn’t be treated as a formula or used superstitiously, but the way we position our bodies does communicate different things to God. She examined four common postures for prayer that are repeated throughout scripture: face down, on our knees, seated and standing.

Face Down:

Lying face down on the floor with my arms spread wide is a posture I use when I want to show God I am in full surrender–this usually happens when I’m in a desperate situation and finally realize I have no one else who can help me the way God can. When I’m face down on the floor before God, my prayers are usually not very eloquent but more of a blurting of words in random order. As I breathe out, I release the thoughts and feelings that cloud my mind: fear, anxiety, confusion, or discouragement. As I breathe in, I invite God to replace all of the negativity with trust, peace, clarity, or encouragement. I rarely have the answer to my dilemma by the time I get off the floor, but I always have a new perspective and a renewed sense of peace knowing God is in control.

For biblical examples of face down prayers check out: Abraham (Genesis 17), Moses (Numbers 20), Jesus (Matthew 26).

On Our Knees:

Praying in this position shows humility before God. It was Daniel’s posture when he sought God’s help after learning King Darius signed a decree forbidding prayers to anyone other than him.   Sometimes kneeling is associated with more formal or traditional styles of worship, but it is a fitting posture anytime we want to show God we know He is bigger and wiser than us.

For a few biblical examples of people praying on their knees check out: Solomon (2 Chronicles 6), Daniel (Daniel 6), Psalm 95:6.

Seated:

This may be the most common posture in the modern church, however it is one of the least- mentioned postures in Scripture. We see David seated before God in prayer as he reviews the things God has done for him and discusses the future with Him. Much of my personal prayer time happens in the seated position as I lift up prayers of adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication. Many years ago I learned that my prayers were more focused when I wrote them in a journal.   Sitting before God and pouring my words out on the page helps me to look back on His faithfulness and to work through the many thoughts rumbling around in my mind.

To read David’s prayer seated before God see 2 Samuel 7:18-29.

Standing:

Often prayers in this position involve praising God. When we sing worship songs with others, they are simply prayers set to music. This can be a powerful position for lifting our hands to honor the One True God. Standing shoulder to shoulder with others to worship God builds unity and strengthens a community of faith.

For biblical examples of people standing to pray, check out Solomon (1 Kings 8), and the Pharisee & Tax Collector (Luke 18).

I got to witness a variety of prayer postures during a recent youth group houseboat trip to Lake Shasta. It was a privilege to join forty other adults leading 260 high school students. Many students made first time commitments to Christ and a number of others grew deeper in their relationships with Him.

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Each morning the group would gather on the beach to sing worship songs and then scatter for personal devotions. All around the beach people stood, sat, crouched and knelt before God in prayer. As I sat in my folding chair facing the water with my journal and Bible on my lap, I was overwhelmed with gratitude realizing that every person on that beach had direct access to God at exactly the same time. We’re called to “vie fiercely in prayer” but we never have to vie for God’s attention. He is ready and waiting to hear from us in whatever posture we choose any time we seek Him.

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On our final day at Lake Shasta, the worship team invited us to stay scattered on the beach as we sang a closing song. It was a powerful experience transitioning from personal time with God to worshipping Him with others. Click on the link for your own “worship moment” to hear the song we sang, “Fall Afresh” by Bethel Music featuring Jeremy Riddle.

 

 



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Author: mmccullum

Marybeth McCullum enjoys writing and blogging about her Christian faith and how it intersects with everyday life. Her goal in every post is to encourage, challenge and inspire her readers. She is in her 10th year at CPC's Focused Living Women's Bible study and currently serves as Coordinator. She also writes a regular blog and speaks occasionally. You can find her page on Facebook at: Marybeth Mc Cullum- Author. Learn more about her other endeavors at marybethmccullum.com.

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