TRAIN: The Discipline of Prayer

 Photo by  Kaleb Fulgham

Photo by Kaleb Fulgham

Over the last two weeks we’ve been looking at the spiritual disciplines, working to understand what it means to “train” for our spiritual lives. We now come to the spiritual discipline of prayer. Prayer is simply a conversation with God, a direct conversation with God. It is essential in any relationship to have communication between one another and prayer is how we converse with God. It truly is a gift, but a discipline at the same time. Although we are told to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17),  most Christians spend on average less than 10 minutes a day praying. As a church kid, I believed prayer was when you closed your eyes and bowed your head before a meal or when the pastor told you to do so on Sunday. Though this is a sign of respect, the Bible provides us with different ways to pray. Today we are going to look at six different examples of how people prayed in the Bible and also discuss how we can incorporate these ways into our own lives.

  1. Standing with Lifted Hands (Ps.134:1-3, 1 Timothy 2:8): A prayer of blessing.
    • Our goal of prayer should first and foremost be to bring glorification verbally to God. The stance of lifting hands shows a sign, uplifting our Father higher with full surrender to Him. We are told to lift hands high to the Heavens as a sign to lift praise and bless His holy name. “Lift up your hands to the holy place and bless the Lord!” (Ps. 134:2)
  2. Kneeling (Daniel 6:10, Psalm 95:6, Luke 22:40-41): A prayer of surrender and respect.
    • As His servants, it is only fitting to come with a clear understanding of the majesty of our heavenly King. Even Jesus came to the Mount of Olives to kneel before His Father before fulfilling the will of God. Kneeling shows a picture of meekness and humility that Christ constantly demonstrated for us.
  3. Sitting Down (2 Samuel 7:18-29, Judges 20:26): A prayer of seeking instruction and guidance.
    • As our great Teacher, part of prayer is listening. We soak in what our Master has set before us, whether it be answering or requesting. By sitting, we physically demonstrate a readiness to accept whatever the Lord has in store for us. 
  4. Laying on Your Bed (Psalm 63:5-8): A prayer of praise, reflection, and meditation.
    • Physically, I found this one most difficult. It is truly a discipline to not let your mind wander. To lay still and be consumed in the presence of the Lord is truly beautiful. To just lay in His midst and speak with him provides the rest we often look for and never find.
  5. Prostrate (Mark 14:32-42, 2 Samuel 12:15-17, 2 Chronicles 20:18-19): A prayer of humility, pleading, and worship.
    • To prostrate means to lay oneself flat on the ground face downward, especially in reverence or submission. The full surrendering of oneself to the point where you simply praise because you have nothing left is truly humbling and beautiful. In my highest moments of praise and in my darkest hour, my verbal skills tend to simplify to one stance and one word: on my face, calling the name of Jesus
  6. Walking (Genesis 5:24): A prayer of conversation.
    • The only time Enoch was mentioned in the Bible was here. He walked with God, then he was no more because God took him. The end. He was simply known for walking with God. Oh, how we should aspire to be known for walking with God. By walking while praying we engage the conversation with God in a very personal way. The same way we would take a walk with a friend, we walk and talk to Jesus in this intimate physical activity.

I was challenged for six days to do one of the six for simply 20 minutes a day. It wasn’t much time to dedicate, but it truly required discipline on my emotional, spiritual, and physical self. Now, I challenge and encourage you to try it. For the next six days, take 15-20 minutes to pray to God doing the first stance, the next day do the second, and so on. This challenge changed my perception and they way I view prayer, so I encourage you to try it as well.