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 And When You Pray

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TomL
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Join date : 2010-03-25
Age : 61
Location : Lebanon, PA

PostSubject: And When You Pray   Thu Feb 27, 2014 11:58 pm

AND WHEN YOU PRAY

I have wondered for some time where and how the practice of bowing of the head and closing of the eyes while praying got started, and why it is still practiced.

In John 17, in what is more appropriately called "the Lord's Prayer," Jesus did not bow his head, or close his eyes.  He lifted his eyes and looked to heaven.  Just before Stephen was stoned, he  looked into heaven and saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God.  While he was being stoned, still looking into heaven he said to God, "receive my spirit."  Then he fell to his knees, but it is not written that he looked to the ground when he said to God not to hold this against them.   So, Stephen was near death when he fell to his knees.  But, there is no indication he stopped looking into heaven when he was talking to God.

In all my research I could only find one example of someone praying without looking to heaven.  And that was in the parable of the Pharisee and tax collector that went up into the temple to pray.  It is written that the tax collector would not look to heaven.  But, it is not written that his head was bowed, nor that his eyes were closed.  Luke 18.9-14.  

So, did the tax collector bow his head or close his eyes?  Some might think that he would have had to do one or the other.  One thing is sure, the tax collector was ashamed.  What do you do when you are feeling ashamed or are otherwise uncomfortable speaking to someone?  Do you bow your head and close your eyes?  I know I don't.  I simply look in another direction.  Sometimes, I even change the subject.  Although, I have seen people hang there head.  Sometimes shake their head.  However, I do not know if they had their eyes closed.  I know sometimes I close my eyes when I am in a great deal of pain.  And, if I say something, it is generally not to pleasant.  

But, I have not seen any New Testament Scripture justify the practice of bowing the head and closing the eyes in normal Christian prayer.  So why is it done?

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study - Do your best to present yourself to God as an approved worker who has nothing to be ashamed of, handling the word of truth with precision. - 2 Timothy 2.15; ISV, isv.com
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PostSubject: Re: And When You Pray   Fri Feb 28, 2014 6:05 pm

This is a good question Tom and one that I will have to take time to investigate. Thanks for sharing!
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