A Poem on Prayer Postures by Sam Walter Foss

A Prayer of Cyrus Brown

image of well for prayer postures poem

I am intrigued by the postures people assume when they talk to God. In an earlier article, I detailed six prayer postures we would do well to emulate. As important as these postures are, they serve merely to reflect the posture of our hearts before God.

For example, the aged believer may have great difficulty in kneeling to pray. (The real difficulty may be in getting up from one’s knees). Even if the body can no longer kneel, the heart can and should be submissive to the Lord. You may not be able to kneel on the outside, but you can surely kneel on the inside.

Recently I heard Alistair Begg cite an old poem (more than 100 years old) as it relates to prayer postures. In the poem various church leaders offer their thoughts on the best posture in which to pray. The discussion ends when an untitled Cyrus Brown recounts his most fervent prayer.

A Prayer of Cyrus Brown

“The proper way for a man to pray”
said Deacon Lemuel Keyes,
“and the only proper attitude
is down upon his knees.”

“Nay, I should say the way to pray,”
said Reverend Dr. Wise
“is standing straight with outstretched arms
and rapt and upturned eyes.”

“Oh, no, no, no.” said Elder Snow
“Such posture is too proud
A man should pray with eyes fast closed
and head contritely bowed.”

“It seems to me his hands should be
astutely clasped in front.
With both thumbs a pointing toward the ground.”
Said Reverend Hunt.

“Las’ year I fell in Hodgkins well
head first,” said Cyrus Brown,
“With both my heels a-stikin’ up,
my head a-p’inting down,
An’ I made a prayer right there an’ then;
Best prayer I ever said;
The prayingest prayer I ever prayed,
A-standin on my head.”

Sam Walter Foss

Whether you find the appropriate position or find yourself with “heels a-stikin’ up”, talk to the Lord. He looks on the inner man while too often we focus on the outer man.