Monday, September 25, 2006

Prayer Posture #2

Sorry for not being to post regularly. Unfortunately, I just don’t have the time and so please be patient. So I would like to continue with the prayer postures and today look at the raising of hands. People singing, raising hands, kneeling, clapping, or even weeping during the music can be new to some, especially in a church setting. But if we think about it, it happens in the music world as well. Remember the British Invasion with the Beatles? It is interesting to see people singing and raising their hands. We see it at concerts and in church gatherings, but what does it mean?

In the context of a church gathering together for worship and prayer these and other activities are simply the natural reaction to God's presence, and are documented throughout the scriptures.

Nehemiah 8 describes the reading of the Law before the Israelites upon rebuilding the walls around Jerusalem. “And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God, and all the people answered, ‘Amen, Amen,’ lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground.” (Verse 6) Such was a show of humility before God.

Standing with hands uplifted and open, head up, and eyes open is one of the oldest postures for prayer. It is called the ‘orans’ position, from the Latin word for praying. By praying this way, the worshiper acknowledges God as external and transcendent. This posture is for thanksgiving, praises, blessings, benedictions, and general prayers. This is still the normal position for prayers in eastern churches and in Jewish synagogues, and it is still used in the western church, particularly when the ministers/priests bless the bread and wine prior to the sharing of the Lord’s Supper.

As one either worships or enters into prayer and the Holy Spirit moves upon our hearts, thankfulness and surrender sometimes cause us to lift our hands. The Hebrew word which is translated ‘praise’ in many areas of the scripture is ‘Yadah.’
‘Yadah’ is a verb and it means to “extend the hand, to revere/worship. It implies the concept of an open hand in/ or to throw out the hand.
2 Chronicles 20:21
After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the LORD and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: "Give thanks (Yadah) to the LORD, for his love endures forever."

Psalm 9:1 I will praise (Yadah) you, O LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders.
As one begins to worship or prayer, and the Holy Spirit touches hearts, thankfulness and surrender sometimes cause us to lift our hands. So, as you go into prayer today extend your hands. Lift your eyes toward heaven and begin to pray.

GOD, we are your children. If only the rest of the world could know what an amazing idea that is! We are the creations of the ultimate Creator! We are the loved ones of a power so far beyond our comprehension that we can’t begin to understand it ourselves. But we have faith. We have the faith that if we live by the light of your Word, then we will see Jesus. It is easy to get confused, GOD, it is easy to get it all backwards. It is not enough to know the way that You want us to live. We must be able to live that way. GOD, help us not to be lead astray by people with more toys than us. Help us to live right and in that right living, we shall be right with You. Amen

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Prayer Posture #1

" If you wish to live in peace and harmony with others, you must learn to discipline yourself in many ways." Thomas a Kempis

When it comes to prayer and worship, bodily posture makes no difference at all. You can pray anywhere, any time, and in any position. In another sense, posture is of utmost importance. It is important to realize that the body and soul, physical and spiritual and the prayer and the posture that we take impact each other in profound ways. Our bodies can tell us a lot about how we are praying and worshipping. Not only does outward posture reflect an inward state, it also helps to nurture an inner attitude.

One caution…we can do all the postures and movements etc, but we really need to understand that they in themselves do not produce grace!!!! They are only effective as the person is open to receiving the touch of GOD. A quick mindless posture is a worthless as saying the Lord’s Prayer in boredom. But it is a humble and contrite heart coupled with bodily expressing ourselves before GOD where we begin to experience GOD in a wonderful way.

The concept of the body being involved in prayer and worship is an ancient practice that is documented throughout scripture. From the beginning of time until today there has been a great variety of expressions of Jewish and Christian spirituality around the world. And it is this faith in GOD that is lived OUT through the human body. In other words our faith is not just intellectual, it manifests itself in numerous physical ways. Physical faith is an integrated faith, which honors both the body and the soul.

Let me ask you this…what happens when you get cut off, or when things are not going right, or the kids are driving you crazy or the boss is driving you nuts….what happens?
You get worked up. What is working you up this week? Anger, fear, anxiety, frustration, hate? Whatever it is that weighs on your mind or is a concern to you. Take all that and imagine that it is in your hand. Take your tight fisted hands and do a simple exercise of palms down as a symbolic indication of your desire to turn over any concerns that you over to GOD. As you do that, pray “GOD I give you my anger, hurt (name your issues)” and when you are done, open your hands (palms downs, as if those things that you are releasing will fall.)

Now turn your palms up towards heaven. This represents the receiving of healing of GOD. Then ask GOD to begin to fill those areas of hurt with His presence and healing.
When you are finished asking GOD to move in those areas of your life, simply spend a moment in silence. End the time thanking GOD for who He is.