TRUTH: The Purpose and Posture of Prayer


As I saw highlights of a NBA player’s injury of his ankle, one of the players interviewed stated that when something like that happens all we can do is pray. When the storms hit Houston, St. Thomas, St. Croix, Puerto Rico and other places, people called for prayer. Now that the wild fires allowed the storms to have their day, people are calling for prayers for those who have died in those fires and for those who have lost homes and possession by the fires in northern California.

Almost all of us know what it means to pray. Prayer is engaging God, who is Almighty, about whatever is our circumstance or condition. While the most of us may know what is prayer, do we all know the God to whom we should pray? Do we know the TRUTH: The Purpose and Posture of Prayer. Our expectation in prayer is that God will respond, but God has expectations too.

Briefly, let me address who God is. In Isaiah 45, God, says, “I am the Lord, and there is no other, apart from me there is no God” The word for Lord is Jehovah. The word used for God is ‘elohiym which means the Supreme GodIn fact, God says there is no other god. Now that we know who God declares Himself to be and whom I believe, lets look at the TRUTH: The Purpose and Posture of Prayer.

Remember, we have been in Ephesians 3. This is what the text says

I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people,this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ,and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. 13 I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory. 14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.

In verse 14, we see the TRUTH: The Purpose and Posture of Prayer. Paul provides us with insight into why we should pray and how we should pray. He said, “For this reason…” What reason? In this case as in all, we should know God’s purpose. Paul was praying for the Ephesians role in God’s plan of using the church to make the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms. The point of our faith and salvation is for us to glorify God. Our sole existence is to glorify God. If what we are thinking, saying or doing does not bring glory to God, we are not living on purpose. We are not truly living I would submit. To live is to have life. Life is not merely breathing, walking, talking or functioning. Jesus distinguished that when He said, ” I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10) The abundant life means that we are in relationship with God knowing, experiencing and sharing Him in our daily lives. The purpose of our prayer should not be to get what we want or need, but that God would be glorified and known as a result of our requests. If we or others alone are the end of our requests, then we fall short of the purpose of prayer. 

Paul also provides insight into how we should pray or the posture of prayer. He said, “For this reason I kneel before the Father” In kneeling, Paul assumed a position and posture of humility, of dependence, of recognition of God as the authority to whom he must submit. Remember Philippians 2:10, it says, “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,” Who is it that we have access to the Father? Jesus! “For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.” It has been submitted that this position kneeling is of utmost humility was in contrast to the more normal posture of prayer in that culture which was to pray standing with hands raised up. Guzik provided a list of kneelers in prayer. Let’s look at others who knelt in prayer.

Solomon prayed on his knees (1 Kings 8:54).
Ezra prayed on his knees (Ezra 9:5).
The Psalmist called us to kneel (Psalm 95:6).
Daniel prayed on his knees (Daniel 6:10).
People came to Jesus kneeling (Matthew 17:14Matthew 20:20, and Mark 1:40).
Stephen prayed on his knees (Acts 7:60).
Peter prayed on his knees (Acts 9:40).
Paul prayed on his knees (Acts 20:36), and
other early Christians prayed on their knees (Acts 21:5).
Most importantly, Jesus prayed on His knees (Luke 22:41).

I am not saying that the only acceptable posture of prayer is kneeling, but Paul strikes the importance of it as we are all called to be humble and reverential before the Father. The posture of kneeling before God, the King of Kings, is a signal to humble ourselves before God. Remember in James 4:6, God says “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Again, I am nor is the Lord being dogmatic about kneeling in prayer, but we are called to bow before our God to show our recognition that we are humble, reverent and subject to Him.

Now, we see the TRUTH: The Purpose and Posture of Prayer. Let’s practice it today.

 

 

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