Prayer postures is a type of prayer that puts the body into a specific posture to accentuate the prayer—intentionally adding the body to the prayer of mind and soul makes a more complete offering of self. Prayer postures can give people access to prayer when words fail them. By forming the posture from how they are feeling in that moment, people are able to present themselves to God with an authenticity that is different from words.
Show the group members three postures they will experience for this spiritual exercise (a list of posture descriptions is provided below). Indicate the signal you will use to end one posture and begin another. A chime or a single word identifying the next posture works well.
Explain to the group members that they will not be offering up any words of prayer but will instead be focused on sensing what type of prayer wants to emerge from them as they hold each posture.
Lead the group in three deep cleansing breaths as preparation for this exercise.
Direct the group to move into the first posture and hold it for at least one minute. Pronounce an “Amen” or other signal word to indicate the time for the posture is concluded.
Direct the group to move into the second posture and hold it for at least one minute. Pronounce an “Amen” to indicate the time for the posture is concluded.
Direct the group to move into the third posture and hold it for at least one minute. Pronounce an “Amen” to indicate the time for the posture is concluded.
Invite each person to share what this was like for them and what type of prayers came up within them.
Challenge the group to come up with other postures for prayer.
Prayer Postures to choose from
Head bowed with hands folded
Sitting with hands extended, palms up—optionally, rest the backs of the hands on the thighs
Sitting or standing with arms stretched upward
Both hands clasped over the heart
Lying prostrate on the ground with arms outstretched, forming a cross with the body
Scriptures for Reflection
May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. —1 Thessalonians 5:23 NRSV
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. —Mark 12:30 NRSV
The elements are eternal, and spirit and element, inseparably connected, receiveth a fullness of joy; and when separated, man cannot receive a fullness of joy. —Doctrine and Covenants 90:5e
Praying with Body and Soul by Jane E. Vennard