How to Pray

I have the great privilege of speaking at the chapel services of our preschool every Wednesday. It brings me great joy to have this opportunity; and it is also usually a challenge.  I do not always speak in ways that 3-5 year old children can understand and draw meaning.  I enjoy the challenge.

At the end of my talk, I lead the group in prayer.  Following the prayer yesterday, one of the 4 year olds asked me “why did you pray with your hands like this?”  She put her hand behind her back.

I realized I had been standing with my hands behind my back while praying.

Some of you might suggest I should have taken her to task for having her eyes open and head up during prayer (I hadn’t even thought of this until sitting to write this post).

I realized that learning to pray typically includes some particular postures: head bowed, eyes closed, hands folded in front, or open upward lying on one’s lap, etc.

Apparently, such postures have slipped in their significance for me.  In leading the prayer, I did bow my head, and I did close my eyes.  I had not, however, held my hands together in front of me.

Obviously (right?) one does not have to fold one’s hands together to pray.  One does not even have to bow one’s head and close one’s eyes – else how would one pray in traffic?  Yet some would say that teaching others to pray,especially when the others are children, should involve these standard behaviors.

How do you feel about this?  How important is it that we teach our children exact, particular postures for prayer?

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