“Close your eyes and fold your hands” those were the instructions, which I got when I was a child and it was time to pray. It was that position which I was taught to adopt when I prayed. But what is the best position in which to pray?
When we think about the best position for prayer we think about the physical location of our bodies. Typically, we fold our hands and close our eyes to help us focus and sometimes we may even get down upon our knees. Of course that does not mean that this is the only position in which we are to pray. If you pray while driving a vehicle then you really need to pray with your eyes wide open! The physical posture that we take when we pray, while helpful, is really just superficial because it is external.
When it comes to prayer and the best position for prayer, the internal position is far more important. It is this posture of the heart that really counts. Prayer is all about relationship with God, who through Jesus Christ has become Abba or Father to us. Prayer flows out of that relationship and so love becomes the proper position out of which to pray. God is love and the context for all of our interactions with the Lord is love. So when we come to pray, the position which we are called to adopt is a position of love. We need to step into his love as we come to pray. It is who he is We come and submit ourselves to that love. When we place ourselves in the position of coming under the love of the Father then our prayers will be directed and flow out of that love. We come in sync with who God is and with his will.
If we are not in sync then our prayers quickly become ineffective. That happens when we come to prayer and love is not the real motivation of our hearts. Sometimes instead of love we are motivated out of routine, duty, tradition or even legalism. We can get to a point where we pray before a meal because that is what is expected. When prayer is motivated out of tradition and routine more than love then there is the potential that the prayer can become empty.
In the same way, if self-love is our motivation then our prayers can also be ineffective. Our focus becomes getting what we want or seeing things done the way we want them done rather than seeking to pray what God wants. Praying for our needs is important but it is important that we examine our motivations.
What is the motivation of my heart when I come to the Lord in prayer? If we come in a position of love it does not matter what the external posture our bodies is, our hearts will be in line with the Lord and out of that love our prayers will flow and be effective.