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Why Do Christians Pray With Their Hands Lifted Up, Eyes Closed, Heads Bowed Down And Kneel Down?

Updated on June 24, 2017
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During prayer whether a Christian is praying by himself or in a group of other Christians, there are different positions they take on. It has become a habit as it is experienced all over the world. Why do they repeatedly close their eyes, kneel down and lift their hands up?

We know prayer is a conversation between man and God. A man talks to God and God talks back to the man. Does it necessary mean a Christian should close his eyes or kneel down?

Let us look at each of them.

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Kneeling Down

Kneeling down is seen as a sign of humility. During the olden times when there were kingdoms and kings and queens ruled, it was a form of humility or reverence to kneel when in front of the throne of the king. Mostly, a person would kneel on one leg while the other leg was in a position of squatting or sitting on a heel. This was particularly the case with generals.

When Christians kneel, it is a form of reverence or humility. We know we are not worthy in the presence of God. Being in the presence of God is a great honor. Since we are praying to a majestic, holy and a power supernatural force who is mightier than anything else; it feels we don’t deserve to be in His presence, therefore we kneel to show how much it means to approach the throne of God through prayers. For that reason we kneel down as an indication of admiration, respect and to show even though we are unworthy in His presence we are still glad He has given us the opportunity to come to His throne of grace whenever we want to talk to Him.

Secondly, Christians kneel down in order to direct their thoughts in one direction. If a Christian prays to God when sitting on a chair or a bed, he would feel comfortable thereby it would be easy to entertain other thoughts. Since kneeling down is not comfortable, it is easier to concentrate on what you’re praying without thinking of other things which will distract your concentration when praying.

Closing Eyes

A person can pray with his eyes opened or closed. The reason why many Christians pray with their eyes closed is in order not to be distracted while praying. You can imagine you are in your room praying then you see your cat brushing her tongue against her genital part, you would end up distasting it with the words ‘ughhh…disgusting.’ This will distract your attention. The only reason why Christians pray with their eyes closed is to minimize or avoid being distracted and to concentrate their thoughts in one direction.

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Lifting Hands Up

When your country defeats another country, apart from shouting and singing songs of praise the next thing you might do which you might be unaware you’re doing it is lifting your hands up. You are excited. A Christian feels excited when lifting his hands up when praying. Maybe he is praising God for the fact God answered his prayers. Maybe He is praising God for a battle won. Whatever it is, the Christian is quite happy that a specific battle whether spiritual, physical or psychological was won by God’s help.

Secondly, lifting hands up is a form of respect, reverence, admiration. It is a show of how powerful, mighty, gracious, wonderful, merciful He is including other attributes associated with Him (God).

Prayer Posture & Location

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Further Readings

Luke 18:9-14

Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God that I am not like other people – cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’

“But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

In the above verses we see how one used his posture in a different manner from the other one. The outward signs or physical posture shows the heart of a person as shown in the above verses. However, as mentioned before some do fake the postures they use especially kneeling down to show their humility when their hearts are full of pride.

Psalms 95:6

Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.

Mark 5:6

Seeing Jesus from a distance, he ran up and bowed down before Him…

Daniel 6:10

Now when Daniel knew that the document was signed, he entered his house (now in his roof chamber he had windows opened toward Jerusalem); and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously.

Ephesians 3:14

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father…

Ezra 9:5

But at the evening offering I arose from humiliation, even with my garment and my robe torn, and I fell on my knees and stretched out my hands to the LORD my God…

Mathew 8:2

And a leper came to Him and bowed down before Him, and said, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”

Acts 9:40

But Peter sent them all out and knelt down and prayed, and turning to the body, he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up.

1 Kings 18:42

So Ahab went up to eat and drink. But Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he crouched down on the earth and put his face between his knees.

Exodus 4:31

So the people believed; and when they heard that the LORD was concerned about the sons of Israel and that He had seen their affliction, then they bowed low and worshipped.

Nehemiah 8:6

Then Ezra blessed the LORD the great God. And all the people answered, “Amen, Amen!” while lifting up their hands; then they bowed low and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground.

1 Timothy 2:8

Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension.

1 Kings 8:22

Then Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the assembly of Israel and spread out his hands toward heaven.

Daniel

I heard the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, as he raised his right hand and his left toward heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time; and as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people, all these events will be completed.

Deuteronomy 10:8

At that time the LORD set apart the tribe of Levi to carry the ark of the covenant of the LORD, to stand before the LORD to serve Him and to bless in His name until this day.

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    • Ben716 profile image
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      Alianess Benny Njuguna 4 months ago from Kenya

      I agree with you Charlie closing of eyes is nowhere recorded in scriptures and we are free to choose whether to do so or not.

      Thanks Kiss and Tales. It is true prayer is vital in our lives, and true there is union between God and Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

    • Kiss andTales profile image

      Kiss andTales 4 months ago

      Ben thank you for this wonderful topic ! Prayer and how we apply it in jesters. It is a personal heartfelt expression from the heart to our Heavenly Father Jehovah. Psalms 83:18.

      I did notice in your scripture content there is a difference in LORD (Jehovah) and Lord (Jesus )

      They are certainly in union with one another and if you notice Jesus himself bowed and prayed to his Heavenly Father as well especially when the Jews were seeking to kill him.

      Prayer is a vital part of life and request to our sovereign Father Jehovah.

      Thank you for Sharing Ben.

    • celafoe profile image

      charlie 5 months ago from From Kingdom of God living on Planet earth. between the oceans

      another good job brother. keep up the good works

      Since we live in the new testament age and not the old testament age I personally would not use OT scriptures because of he great difference in the way to worship God in the 2 ages. I think it causes new and immature believers to think it is ok to look into OT for answers that can only be found in the NT for the disciples of Christ.

      There is no scripture that requires closed eyes, that is a teaching of apostate "churchmen", of the seeker friendly mentality. Those that say with "all heads bowed and all eyes closed", their purpose being not to offend the bashful ones that might want to admit they are sinners that need a savior. But scripture says WE ARE NOT TO water down the word and we are to publicly proclaim our need for a saviour and our repentance and acceptance of Christ's finished work.

      It is your choice whether or not to close your eyes, sometimes you may want to, others not, it does not matter to Jesus or to God which you choose. It is the condition of your heart that they are looking at.