Friday, January 13, 2012

Proper prayer posture

I was in the fetal position in bed praying that God doesn’t discount the prayers of guys too lazy to get down on their knees to worship.

I mostly pray in bed with my fingers crossed like they taught in Sunday school. But unlike Sunday school, I’m naked and usually cuddled up against my wife, not at all what they teach in Sunday school, at least in the boring ones I attended.

My most traditional Christian prayer posture is at the bedside of my daughters. I try and pray with them every night when I’m not out in the bar getting all gooned up with my buddies.

I cherish those moments -- and I mean the ones with my daughters (and, yeah, the ones with the guys, too).

With the daughters, I think if God grades prayers he’d give mine an A.

Knees on the floor, head bowed, hands folded, prayers concise -- I’m talking as much to the daughters as I am the Lord. I ask God to help the sick, the lonely and the sad. Really, I don’t expect God is going to do any of that stuff so I want the girls to know it would be nice if they pitched in and sort of did what we all wish He would.

I never really thought much about prayer posture until about five years ago when I remember seeing a pictorial study of President George W. Bush absorbed in prayer. Watching him in prayer was like watching a magician try to bend spoons with his mind.

He looked deadly sincere, like if he furrowed his brow deep enough God was going to stop watching Tim Tebow play football and say, “Holy cow! George Bush has something really important to say!”

The Bush presidency really challenged my faith. I always wondered what he was praying for.

I can’t imagine he prayed he’d preside over a failed presidency and global condemnation over his unholy Iraq war and a wrecked economy.

The only prayer of his I can imagine God possibly answered in the affirmative was maybe, “Dear Lord, please let one of my daughters grow up to be a Today Show correspondent.”

At least that’s working out.

The Muslims are fierce prayers. Five times a day they tilt toward Mecca and assume postures fitness crazed Americans do only in yoga class when they want to achieve a tight fanny.

Hearing children pray is a delight. My all-time favorite was when our youngest was 4. It was the evening before Easter and I said a very moving prayer about about the resurrection.

After my amen, the little one chimed in, “And God bless the Easter Bunny and God bless yourself,” a perfect mingling of the sacred and the secular.

I’ve said a lot of prayers with my fingers gripping a steering wheel, and I used to say a lot of prayers in lecture halls holding, not a Bible, but a No. 2 pencil. I’m not proud of it, but I’ve even said prayers while bent over 6-foot par putts.

God’s been about 50-50 on granting the latter.

To try and gain some insight on proper prayer posture, I engaged the source men and women of faith reach for whenever they seek spiritual guidance.

Yep, I Googled it.

The Biblical Research Institute cites chapters and verses where the Bible tells how holy folks prayed.

It cites examples of men and women communing with God while kneeling, standing, sitting, lying down on a bed (yes!), or prostrate on the ground with their noses in the dirt.

It says there is not one recommended prayer posture: “Any attempt to select one as superior and indispensable over the others lacks biblical support.”

I guess that means Tebowing is okay, too.

Faith in this world of woe is often elusive. I spoke with two people this week who are questioning their faith.

I encouraged them to struggle through their doubt and believe.

I’m perfectly happy deadening the logical part of my brain in favor of thinking there is a God who loves us and wants us to love one another.

All we can do is pray our prayers have even a prayer of being heard.

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