Summary: Our body postures in worship, Bible intake, and prayer reflect our attitude toward God. We must approach these disciplines with humility and joy.
Throughout our series on spiritual formation, being Conformed to Christ, I have talked about the spiritual disciplines of worship, Bible study, meditation, memorization, and prayer. In this post, I want to discuss our body postures and how they reflect our attitude and heart.
Have you ever thought about the way you posture your body when you worship God, read and study the Bible, and pray? We take specific postures in these disciplines whether we realize it or not. Sometimes we take them without realizing that we do it.
Often, when you worship God, you clap your hands, raise your hands, and dance before the Lord. When you pray, sometimes you kneel before Him, clasp your hands together, or bow your head and close your eyes. You do similar bodily actions in Bible intake.
I want to discuss the reasons we take body postures when we perform these disciplines. They reflect our inner approach and attitude toward God as we practice these vital spiritual disciplines. Let’s dive in!
Reasons for Body Postures
The way you posture your body when you worship God, read and study His Word, and pray show your inner attitude toward the Lord, desire for Him, and approach to these disciplines. They show Him how much you appreciate Him and His guidance over you.
Your body postures outwardly show your interaction and desire in these disciplines. Imagine if you stood nonchalantly in a worship service, were looking around at everything and not singing and praising the Lord. What if you came to prayer and spent your time laying on the ground sleeping? Or if you read your Bible while you thought about something else, shifting your eyes instead of reading?
Sometimes we don’t realize how our body postures affect our worship, Bible intake, and prayer. Similarly, we can pay closer attention to our body postures to enhance our attitude and approach to these disciplines.
We want to approach the Lord and His Word with humility and respect. We honor the Lord and show we fear Him with our body posture, attitude, and approach to these disciplines. So, we must understand how each of our body postures affects the way we worship God, take in His Word, and pray.
In my teachings on the spiritual warfare, I addressed body postures for spiritual warfare and how different postures affect the way we war against evil spirits and the spiritual realm. Here, I will revisit many of these postures, but in a different discipline.
Postures in Worship
The way we present ourselves to the Lord and body posture and spiritual attitude show Him how much we respect and adore Him. We don’t make the connection between our outward posture and inward attitude.
But these matter greatly to God. The way we come before Him should matter to us. When we worship the Lord, we don’t realize how much our outward postures affect our inner worship. Body posture is a visible reminder of how we feel and approach worship.
In worship, we raise our hands, clap, sing in the Spirit, bow and raise our heads, kneel, shout, and dance before the Lord. Each of these body postures outwardly shows our inward attitude toward the Lord.
These outward postures show our heart as we worship. Imagine if your spouse tried to talk to you as you looked away, distracted yourself with other tasks, or murmured to yourself. Your spouse would be incensed with your posture. Let’s look at ways we devote ourselves and attention to the Lord in worship.
Raising our hands. When we raise our hands in worship, we send our praise to the heavens. We also show our surrender as we seek to receive God’s blessings. I often picture my out raised hand as a giant bowl catching the blessings of the Lord. I also picture my raised hands like sending may beam of praise toward God.
Clapping. Clapping our hands can be a form of spiritual warfare against our spiritual enemies. But is also an expression of praise to God. When we clap our hands, we clap an agreement with what God is doing among us. We show our appreciation for his work in us.
Singing in the Spirit. Singing shows our participation in worship. Singing to the Lord is a spiritual act of acknowledging and expressing our appreciation for his presence and work in us.
Bowing and raising our heads. When we bow our heads before the Lord, we acknowledge His Lordship. We accept his praise and judgment of us. We acknowledge His presence before us. We acknowledge God’s kingship and leadership when we raise our heads to heaven. So also with raising our hands. It’s a sign of surrender and appreciation. It’s as if we welcome His presence in our midst.
Kneeling before the Lord. We kneel in surrender before Him. We offer our praise and worship to Him. We come before the Lord in humility, offering ourselves in sacrifice and service to Him. We acknowledge our humanity and frailty. We submit to His will for us.
Shouting to the Lord. We shout to the Lord in victory over our spiritual adversaries. We shout to the Lord because of His mercies and blessings. We shout to the Lord because of His goodness toward us. It’s an acknowledgement of God’s power.
Dancing before the Lord. When we dance before the Lord, we relish and His glory and power among us. We celebrate His goodness and mercy. There is no greater way for our joy and happiness to spill over into our dancing and bodily action before Him.
Postures in Bible Intake
When we posture our bodies in Bible intake, we place ourselves in God’s judgment and affirmation, to receive His Word to us. The way we posture our bodies shows our willingness to give attention to what He has to say to us. Similarly, we can show our lack of attention with our body posture.
Bible intake includes reading, studying, memorizing, and meditating on God’s Word. As we perform these activities, we posture our body in ways we sometimes don’t pay attention to Him. So let’s look at some of our postures during Bible intake.
Sitting shows our body ready to receive from God. Our spirits humbly submit to the Word. We want to know what God has to say to us. We direct our attention to what we read in the Bible and are ready to apply it to our lives.
Holding our Bible before us shows our attention to it and our honor for it. We respect what the Lord has to say to us. We want to listen and do what it says. The Word of God has the highest priority in our lives. It goes before us and guides us.
Bowing our heads or getting on our knees shows our openness to receive from the Lord as we read and study our Bibles. It shows we want to know what the Lord has to say to us. It demonstrates our desire to know what He thinks of us and how He evaluates our attentiveness to His Word.
The way we present our bodies to the Lord and our hearts in Bible intake can also detract from our attention to receiving His Word. If we don’t pay attention to what we read or try to preserve it or act on it, we don’t treat God’s Word with respect.
Postures in Prayer
We can take certain bodily postures in prayer to show the Lord we care about how He speaks to us in prayer and how we listen. As with the other spiritual disciplines, we can also show Him we are not listening or don’t care what He is telling us.
Preying on our knees. When we are on our knees, we show the Lord we surrender ourselves to His will and words to us. We want to hear from Jesus. We are ready to listen and apply what He speaks to our hearts. We are sitting at the feet of Jesus waiting on Him.
Praying with outstretched open hands. Stretching our hands out with palms up show we are ready to receive from Jesus. We want His blessings and instruction. We want to apply what He speaks into our hearts.
Heads raised toward heaven. When we raise our heads toward heaven, we are listening to Jesus speak. Like outstretched open hands, we are receiving from the Lord. We are waiting on Him to speak to us and teach us.
Praying with raised hands. When our arms and hands are raised to the Lord, we are receiving His blessings and open to His words for us. We surrender ourselves to His will and ways. We want Him to give instruction and wisdom to us.
Praying prostrate before the Lord. We not use this posture enough. Praying prostrate before the Lord shows our surrender to the Lord’s words and will for our lives. This total surrender leaves us open and willing to do whatever the Lord commands. We are desperate for the Lord’s instruction. We are willing to do everything He gives us to do.
Which of these postures have you used in worship, Bible intake, and prayer? Are there postures you have never tried before? Try new postures in these spiritual disciplines. Be open to hearing from the Lord as much as you speak to Him.
Now that I have talked about how to respond to the Lord through our bodily postures, I turn to discuss how to pray for others.