“Lord, Teach Us to Pray”

Sam Walter Foss addresses the proper way to pray in his poem, “The Prayer of Cyrus Brown”:
“The proper way for a man to pray,”
Said Deacon Lemuel Keys,
“And the only proper attitude
Is down upon his knees.”

“No I should say the way to pray,”
Said Reverend Doctor Wise,
“Is standing straight with outstretched arms
And rapt and upturned eyes.”

“Oh, no, no, no,” Said Elder Slow,
“Such posture is too proud:
A Man should pray with eyes fast closed
And head contritely bowed.”

“It seems to me his hand should be
Austerely clasped in front,
With both thumbs pointing toward the ground,”
Said Reverend Doctor Blunt.

“Las’ year I fell in Hodgkin’s well
Head first,” said Cyrus Brown
“With both my heels a stickin’ up,
My head a-pinting down;

“An I made prayer right then an there,
Best prayer I ever said,
The prayingest prayer I ever prayed,

A-standing on my head.”
Jesus prayed alone. He prayed in community. He prayed before meals. He offered prayers of thanksgiving. He prayed when making important decisions. He prayed for his disciples; he prayed for unity in the church; He prayed for his disciples and he prays for us in heaven.

But, not one time in all of scripture are we told whether he prayed with his eyes opened or closed. At times, he knelt to pray. He fell on his face and prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. He prayed looking toward the heavens. When the disciples in Luke 11 asked him, “Lord teach us to pray” he said pray LIKE this and he gave us the Lord’s Prayer.

Jesus was not necessarily saying this is the exact words you must pray and only these words all the time. What he was showing his disciples and us, is that prayer is about glorifying God, trusting in God’s goodness, recognizing our need for forgiveness, and declaring our dependence upon God.

The next time you go to the Lord in prayer don’t worry about whether your eyes are closed, hands folded or whether you are ’a-standing on your head”. Imagine you are standing before the throne of God and your heavenly Father is before you with his arms wide open ready to receive and you won’t be able to stop glorifying him.

Glory Hallelujah! He is the mighty King! Amen.