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Practicalities of prayer (2)

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Scripture commends a life of prayer, characterised by simplicity of expression, sincerity of heart and trust in the promises of God. It gives guidance on how, when and where to pray.

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Scripture stresses the importance of prayer

1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 NIV
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
See also Ac 6:3–4; Ro 12:12

Judgment comes on those who do not pray

Psalm 79:6 NIV
Pour out your wrath on the nations that do not acknowledge you, on the kingdoms that do not call on your name;
See also Ps 53:4; Je 10:21; Zep 1:4–6; Jas 4:2

Prayers should be expressed simply

Matthew 6:7–8 NIV
And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
See also Ec 5:1–3; Lk 18:9–14

Prayer should not be ostentatious

Matthew 6:5–6 NIV
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
See also Mt 14:23; Lk 5:16

Physical positions for prayer

Sitting while praying

2 Samuel 7:18 NIV
Then King David went in and sat before the Lord, and he said: “Who am I, Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?
See also Jdg 20:26; Ne 1:4

Kneeling while praying

Luke 22:41 NIV
He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed,
See also 1 Ki 8:54; 2 Ch 6:13; Ezr 9:5; Ac 9:40; Ac 21:5; Eph 3:14

Standing while praying

1 Kings 8:22 NIV
Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in front of the whole assembly of Israel, spread out his hands toward heaven
See also 1 Sa 1:26; Mk 11:25

Lying prostrate while praying

2 Chronicles 20:18 NIV
Jehoshaphat bowed down with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the Lord.
See also Ge 24:52; Nu 20:6

Praying with arms outstretched

Ex 9:29; Is 1:15
See also 1 Ki 8:54; 2 Ch 6:13

Praying with hands raised

1 Timothy 2:8 NIV
Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.
See also Ex 9:29; 1 Ki 8:22; 1 Ki 8:54; Ps 63:4; Ps 77:1–2

Prayer can be offered at any time

Praying several times a day

Daniel 6:10 NIV
Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.
See also Ps 55:17; Ps 88:1

Praying early in the morning

Mark 1:35 NIV
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
See also Ps 5:3; Ps 119:147

Praying all night

Luke 6:12 NIV
One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.
See also 1 Sa 15:11; Lk 2:37

Prayer is not confined to any single place

John 4:21–24 NIV
“Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

Praying inside a building

Da 6:10; Mt 6:6
See also 1 Ki 8:28–30

Praying outside a building

Mk 1:35; Lk 5:16
See also Ac 10:9; Ac 21:5

Prayer may be accompanied by fasting

Acts 13:2–3 NIV
While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.
See also Ezr 8:23; Ne 1:4; Ps 35:13; Da 9:3; Lk 2:37; Lk 5:33; Ac 14:23; Mt 17:21
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