Dear Refiner's Fire...

I was watching this program on TV about Muslims and one Muslim guy said that their prophet tsught them how to pray. I was wondering if Jesus did the same thing? Did Jesus tell us to fold our hands and bow our heads, or did he tell us to raise our arms to the sky and rejoice while some music is being played? I am only asking because I have been to some churches in my area and all of them ( and I mean ALL of them) have different ways of praying. After watching this program I started to wonder why every church has a different ways of praying and I keep wondering if the mega-churches are only making things up as they go.

I also have a question about slavery. I have read some passages on slavery in the Bible and I cannot believe that some seem sympathetic to the practice. Why is this so?

Our Response....

Great questions - thank you! First, we'll address the question about prayer:

Matthew 6:6. But when you pray enter your inner room and close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret and your Father who sees in secret He will reward you in open. 7. And when you pray, you should not be chatterers like the pagans, for they hope that by many words they will be heard. 8. Therefore, do not imitate them for your Father knows what need you have before you ask Him. 9. Therefore, you pray like this: Our Father in heaven. Hallowed be thy name. 10. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done. As in heaven so on earth. 11 Give us the bread of our need this day. 12. And forgive us our offences as we also have forgiven those who have offended us. 13. And not bring us into trial, but deliver us from the evil one, for Yours is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. (AENT)

Footnote: Prayer is a dialogue with Heaven, not a monologue. Y'shua's teaching stands as the demarcation between relationship with YHWH rather than a religion about Him. Prayer is meant to establish and maintain an intimate relationship, and accountability between each individual and YHWH.

The Bible doesn't command us to bow, fold hands, raise our hands, or kneel, although there is plenty of Scripture which mentions it. When the Disciples asked Yeshua to teach them how to pray, He didn't mention any folding of hands, etc., but simply said:

Luke 11: 1 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples." 2He said to them, "When you pray, say: " 'Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. 3 Give us each day our daily bread. 4 Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.' "

There is no direct command in Scripture that says a person do anything at all when praying, which indicates that a believer can pray standing up, lying down or when walking - although kneeling in prayer is mentioned in the Bible many times:

1 Kings 8: 54 And it was so, that when Solomon had made an end of praying all this prayer and supplication unto the LORD, he arose from before the altar of the LORD, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven.

Psalm 95: 6 O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.

Daniel 6: 10 Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.

Luke 22: 41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed.

Acts 9: 40 But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed...

Acts 20: 36 And when he (Paul) had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all.

Acts 21: 5 And when we had accomplished those days, we departed and went our way; and they all brought us on our way, with wives and children, till we were out of the city: and we kneeled down on the shore, and prayed.

Psalm 95 says: 1 Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. 2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. 3 For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods. 4 In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. 5 The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. 6 Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; 7 for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.

While Solomon was praying one day, he mentioned people praying with their bodies facing toward the temple (1 Kings 8:29-30, 35), toward Jerusalem (1 Kings 8:44), and Israel (1 Kings 8:48) whenever they were outside their homeland. In 2 Chronicles we note the following:

2 Chronicles 20: 18 Jehoshaphat bowed with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the LORD. 19 Then some Levites from the Kohathites and Korahites stood up and praised the LORD, the God of Israel, with very loud voice.

Yeshua "fell on his face and prayed" (Matt. 26:39). David and Nehemiah in the Tanach ("Old Testament") sat during prayer (Nehemiah 1:4-11; 1 Chronicles 17:16). Hannah prayed silently while her lips moved (1 Sam. 1:13). Ezra fell to his knees and stretched out holy hands to God (Ezra 9:5).

Solomon built a bronze platform from which he prayed (2 Chron. 6:13) while others fell on the ground (2 Chron. 20:18; Ezra 9:5; Matt. 26:39) and others went to the Lord's house (1 Chron. 17:16).

Does God prefer one prayer position over another? Who knows? Solomon said it was a matter of the heart:

1 Kings 8: 39 then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Forgive and act; deal with each man according to all he does, since you know his heart (for you alone know the hearts of all men).

Concerning slavery in the Bible:

As we have explained in one of our articles challenging EvilBible slavery wasn't God's idea, it was man's. Because God knew man would enter into this type of activity, God gave rules as to how to treat slaves:

MAN set up the idea of slavery; not God. One has to remember: to conclude that the Bible condones slavery implies something very different today than in ancient times. Why God never gave a command against slavery is unknown, but perhaps it's because there were many good sides to slavery, including selling one's self into slavery in order to get out of debt, which is what many people did. This may not seem just, but in most societies, little extra money or resources existed for social programs, and few poor workers could be tolerated. Historically, slaves were usually prisoners of war that were sold after one side lost-an act that often saved their life because many would have been executed if they were not worth money as slaves God did not command slavery, but told people how to treat their slaves.

According to Got Questions.Org: The Bible does not specifically condemn the practice of slavery. It gives instructions on how slaves should be treated (Deu 15:12-15; Eph 6:9; Col 4:1), but does not outlaw the practice altogether. Many see this as the Bible condoning all forms of slavery. What many people don't understand is that slavery in the Bible times is completely different from the slavery that was practiced in the United States in the 1700's and 1800's. The slavery in the Bible was not based on race at all. People were not enslaved because of their nationality or the color of their skin. In Bible times, slavery was more of a social status. People sold themselves as slaves when they could not pay their debts or provide for their family. In New Testament times, sometimes doctors, lawyers, even politicians were slaves of someone else for one reason or another. Some people actually chose to be slaves so as to have all their needs provided for by their master.

The slavery of the 1700's and 1800's was based on skin color. Black people were considered slaves because of their nationality – most slave owners truly believed black people to be "inferior human beings" to white people. This is similar to the slavery the Jews experienced when they were in Egypt. The Jews were slaves, not by choice, but because they were Jews (Exo 13:14). The plagues God poured out on Egypt demonstrate how God feels about racial slavery (Exo 7-11). So, yes, the Bible does condone slavery. However, the slavery the Bible allowed for in no way resembled the racial slavery that plagued our world in the past few centuries.

...One has also to remember that God tolerated many of man's transgressions and, eventually He sent Yeshua to be the final sin Sacrifice because it was the ONLY way man could obtain eternal life....