Tuesday, March 26, 2019
Traditionally Anglicans prayed on their knees. Most ‘kneelers’ were not padded and usually rested against the back of the pew in front so snugly that rod straight, and highly uncomfortable, back posture was required. Resting one’s bottom on the seat was not permissible and calloused knees were interpreted as a sign of godliness. Hands were to be clasped and heads bowed reverently. This was the correct ‘posture’ for prayer.
Teaching about prayer, especially prayer ‘in the home’, was often limited to a thanksgiving grace before meals and bed time prayers… “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep; if I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.” Such comforting words with which to send little ones off to dreamland!
The Catechism, which called all Christians to private prayer (among other things!), offered only The Lord’s Prayer, as a prayer for God’s Grace, in its instructions. Times change. We discovered that we could offer prayer in worship while standing up; we could open our hands and lift our arms, in praise! We began to teach about prayer being a conversation with God and our prayer language, especially in our private devotions, could be as simple as saying “Wow, Sorry, Thanks, Please, Help”.