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What is the correct posture of prayer? Is it standing or kneeling?

There are no specific instructions given in the Bible concerning the posture for prayer.

Jesus instructed his disciples:

Matthew 6:6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

People are recorded praying in different postures.

  • Moses bowed down: Exodus 34:8 So Moses made haste and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshiped.
  • The people lifted their hands and bowed down in Nehemiah’s day: Nehemiah 8:6 And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground.
  • Some prayed with uplifted hands: 1 Timothy 2:8 I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting;
  • Solomon stood and lifted up his hands: 1 Kings 8:22 Then Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands toward heaven;
  • Solomon knelt: 2 Chronicles 6:13 (for Solomon had made a bronze platform five cubits long, five cubits wide, and three cubits high, and had set it in the midst of the court; and he stood on it, knelt down on his knees before all the assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands toward heaven);
  • The Levites stood: 1 Chronicles 23:30 to stand every morning to thank and praise the LORD, and likewise at evening;
  • Jehoshaphat stood: 2 Chronicles 20:5,6 Then Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new court, 6 and said: "O LORD God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations, and in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand You?
  • Job stood: Job 30:20 I cry out to You, but You do not answer me; I stand up, and You regard me.
  • Jesus stood and lifted up his eyes: John 11: 41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, "Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.
  • The tax collector stood, beat his chest, and wouldn’t look up: Luke 18:13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, "God, be merciful to me a sinner!"
  • David sat: 2 Samuel 7:18 Then King David went in and sat before the LORD; and he said: "Who am I, O Lord GOD? And what is my house, that You have brought me this far?
  • David prayed while lying on his bed: Psalm 63:6 When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches.
  • Daniel faced Jerusalem and knelt: Daniel 6:10 Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.
  • Jesus prostrated himself: Mark 14:35 He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him.
  • Jesus prayed while being crucified: Luke 23:34 Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do."
  • Jesus prayed from the cross: Luke 23:46 And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, "Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’" Having said this, He breathed His last.

From the above, I conclude that the posture for prayer depends on the situation we are in when we make the prayer, and what we are comfortable with.

  • Romans 14:5… Let each be fully convinced in his own mind.
  • 1 John 3:21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God.

I hope you find this helpful.

God bless,