At our church, we have faithfully maintained a prayer chapel as our mid-week “service” for adults. Please read about this “service” at this link, because today’s post depends on a familiarity with what we’re doing during “prayer chapel”.

I’ll have to admit that it has not been easy to continue doing this. The attendance is really low. It is “odd” compared to our Sunday worship. And, I think people just don’t get it. Many times I’ve been tempted to turn it into a bible study or something. But, God reminds me of His call for Thrive to be known as a house of prayer.

39 Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him.
40 On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.”
41 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed
(Luke 22:39-40)

Did you know that during Jesus’ time, the typical “posture” for prayer was standing, eyes open, usually with one arm raised towards heaven? I found that little piece of trivia during my research for a message series about prayer. The thing I found most intriguing was the “activity” among scholars about Jesus’ posture as he prayed. Some suggest that Jesus was so overwhelmed by what was going to take place, that his emotional exhaustion effected him physically. Other suggest that he was signaling reverent intimacy with God, in the same vein as David’s prayer kneeling.

To me, both positions are simultaneously possible. All of the scholars are in agreement that the “jewel” here is that Jesus chose a different posture than “typical.”

Sometimes, you just have to change your posture. You have to take yourself to a different place, mentally or physically, so that you can tune-out the world and focus in on God. That’s why I love our prayer chapel. I can count on an “oasis of peace” – a dedicated hour within the week to be still and know that He is God. I need this oasis, and have to come to rely on it – it is part of my “sabbath practice.”

How do you find your “oasis of peace?” How do you change “posture?”

18 thoughts on “change.of.posture”

  1. I usually find myself on the ground on my knees I like to make sure i know where my place is, But often times my posture changes. If we really look at it God cares about the heart not the way it is standing!

    1. Hi Buddy! I’ll be praying for you as you begin becoming a Marine. I’m proud of you. You are right, it is the condition of our heart that counts, but sometimes our “posture” interferes with the purity of our heart.

      1. And, our posture can also get our heart back in it’s right place. by the way, posture does not necessarily mean physical posture, it could mean surroundings, and state of mind too.

  2. We’ve sort of had a break for the summer, but our prayer times are starting back up this week. I do everything from walking with the Bible in hand, to sitting, kneeling, lying facedown. Like you said, changing your posture makes you refocus. That’s a good thing, and I loved the trivia about prayer in Jesus’ day- very nice.

    Thanks Herb.

  3. Herb – We have maintained a Saturday night gathering for quite some time now. It used to be a mirror of what we did Sunday, but the crowd was never large enough to create “mojo” (whatever “mojo” is). So we brought it more to a glorified living room small group. Anywhere from 20 to 50 show up on any given Saturday.

    Our pastors and board have wrestled with what to do with it (dismantle? do only Bible study? ??). We are generally in need of prayer as a congregation right now. Your post has sparked an idea I will share with the board (I am the board secretary) in our meeting tonight.

    Thanks for your faithfulness (and a great post, btw).

  4. My work interferes with me attending a mid-week prayer service. As a result my prayer life is relegated to a couple of accountability partners and family prayer time. One thing I am constantly focusing on is my attitude when praying…am I just praying for what I want and think people (or myself) need or am I truly opening up in a two way conversation with God as I seek His will and direction.

    1. “am I just praying for what I want and think people (or myself) need or am I truly opening up in a two way conversation with God” ~~~>> Me too, brother! That’s why I use “posture” – be it the prayer chapel, or other “devices” t help my focus on the conversation. Thanks, Dusty.

  5. Jay: when I first came here (5 years ago) the prayer meeting attendance on wednesday night was waning. We saw a spike for awhile but then it really dropped off. When we disbanded for the summer we were down to me, my wife and 2 or 3 ladies. Nope, not even the leaders. I struggled with what to do. Every time I think of canceling it, I am reminded of Billy Graham’s two old ladies praying for him at the start of his ministry. I have no idea who to spruce it up or make it more vital. As for me: body aches almost forbid kneeling any more. I fight finding a meaningful prayer time in the morning. Not sure how to remedy it but will keep “working it.” Something will happen. Good post.

    1. I hear ya – my struggles are similar. As I read your post, I was reminded of a story about a boy who was told by his baseball buddy’s father (who happened to be pastor), that he was always at the local diner at breakfast time. The boy went through a serious crisis and skipped school one day. At some point he sought out the pastor at the local diner saying, “I knew you would be here.” Perhaps, the consistency of the dedicated moment is what we are called to provide? Maybe?

  6. I like your prayer chapel. Wish it was possible here. Our church is going through a lot of changes. Sad for you but I’m happy to read that you too don’t have a lot of people coming to pray. Although I don’t get it. It should be considered the engine of our faith and church.

    My place of peace was always on my knees. But last year I fel and I can’t use my knee that well. I’m going to the gym and it is getting better but it made me clear that it’s not about being on my knees.

    1. I don’t get it either – I really wonder sometimes if people REALLY understand the importance God places on prayer. I just checked a couple sites and it looks like some form of the word “pray” occurs 528 times in the KJV – that’s an average of 8 times PER BOOK.

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