Is a prayer offered kneeling from an individual more powerful than on offered sitting? I was told that it was by my sister in law. If that be the case does that mean that blessings given by priesthood standing aren’t as powerful? I am really confused on this. Thank you for your help.
Prayer, as you know, is an opportunity for us to be able to communicate with our Father in Heaven. When we contemplate the power behind our prayers let’s review the following items: the attitude of prayer, our faith and humility, and our personal circumstances. The first item we will discuss is the original attitude of prayer and how it was done. In our scriptures we can see that prayer was done:
Standing (Nehemiah 9:4), “Then stood up upon the stairs, of the Levites, Jeshua, and Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Chenani, and cried with a loud voice unto the Lord their God.” (emphasis mine)
Kneeling (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 foretime.” (emphasis mine)
Prostrate (Matthew 26:39), “Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (emphasis mine)
In these circumstances, these three original attitudes of prayer, which do you think/feel would have been “more powerful”? From my perspective, I would think each manner of prayer (the prayer efficacy and power) would depend on the faith and humility of the individual offering the prayer, would you agree? Surely, our perfect Lord would have offered a prayer that was just as powerful if on his knees, right? Surely Daniel offered powerful prayers, I mean through the power of his prayers he was able to stop the mouths of lions from devouring his flesh. Why, then might your sister feel a kneeling prayer is more powerful then a standing prayer? Let’s review the next item: faith and humility.
Through our faith and humility we trust in the principles we have been taught (precept and example) by those who are in authority (past and modern). Let’s begin with an example from our Savior from the Book of Mormon (Source: 3 Nephi 17:13-14), “And it came to pass that when they had all been brought, and Jesus stood in the midst, he commanded the multitude that they should kneel down upon the ground. And it came to pass that when they had knelt upon the ground, Jesus groaned within himself, and said: Father, I am troubled because of the wickedness of the people of the house of Israel.” (emphasis mine)
Would you agree, that if we exercise our faith and humility toward keeping counsel/commandments that this will add to the efficacy and power of our prayers? In the previous example covering Jesus Christ prostrating himself on the ground we also read the following regarding his decision and attitude of prayer (his faith and humility), “And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,” (Source, emphasis mine) Would following the example of our Savior add more efficacy and power to our prayers?
In 2009, our current prophet said the following regarding our attitude, faith, and humility toward prayer, “The practice of Church members is to kneel in family prayer each morning and evening, plus having daily personal prayers and blessings on our food.”
From my perspective, I would think that as we follow the Lord — his given example — and the Lord’s servants counsel surely it will add to the efficacy and power of our prayers. I would then say, when Enos kneeled down before his Maker — as a result of his faith and humility — it lead to a remarkable experience for him, which leads us to talk about personal circumstance.
In our personal circumstances we will have a choice regarding how and when we pray — our personal attitude. When I think about what your sister suggested the first thought I entertained was someone lying in bed who didn’t want to get out of bed to prayer. Let’s be clear, God will hear and answer both prayers (in bed or out of bed), but which do you think might have more efficacy and power?
What if I knew I needed to prayer about something, and I walked up to my room to pray. When I enter my room I have two choices for sure. The first is that I can pray standing and offer a sincere prayer through my faith. The other option is that I can — through my faith and humility — listen to the counsel and example given by our Savior and his servants. If I choose to act in faith and humility I will kneel (with reverence) as I hearken to the counsel that has been given. This attitude of prayer will definitely increase the efficacy of my prayer, would you agree?
We can also see, if we are thinking clearly, where there are experiences where the efficacy and power of our prayer will not be determined by our position of prayer, but will be determined simply by our faith and humility to pray. If we are walking the halls of our school, and we feel an impression to pray, should we kneel? Or will the Lord hear a quiet prayer from our mind just as he would if we were kneeling and praying out loud? I once again think the answer is plain and clear.
Also, I think you and I can come up with many circumstances where “kneeling” in prayer might not be appropriate and the Lord will answer that prayer just as he would a kneeling prayer. Before we move to the comparison of priesthood blessings (which are accomplished by standing) and prayer which can be done by kneeling please take a moment to ponder more thoroughly upon this experience given by President Eyring regarding his Father who was in the hospital suffering from cancer:
“He was suffering through the end of a long struggle with bone cancer. He still weighed enough and was in such pain that it was hard work to move him from a chair to his bed. Others far more heroic than I spent the months and the days caring for him. But I took some turns on the midnight to dawn shift.
“The effects of disease had removed the powers of reason he’d used to make a mark that is still visible in science. He seemed to me almost like a child as we talked through the night. Most of his memories were of riding across the range together with his father in Old Mexico. But sometimes even those happy pictures could not crowd from his mind the terrible pain.
“One night when I was not with him and the pain seemed more than he could bear, he somehow got out of bed and on his knees beside it—I know not how. He pled with God to know why he was suffering so. And the next morning he said, with quiet firmness, “I know why now. God needs brave sons.”
“Now, when someone tells you the questions that matter yield only to some rational analysis, remember that the stunning achievements of reason over the past three hundred years have sprung from what is called the “scientific method.” I hope you’ll also remember, as I always will, the scientist Henry Eyring on his knees, when the questions that really mattered yielded to the method for finding truth he’d learned as a little boy at his mother’s knee in Old Mexico… What he learned on his knees brought him peace and changed my life.”
In the beginning of this response to your question we talked about “attitude” and the different attitudes of prayer. When we think upon priesthood blessings remember you are comparing a “blessing” to a “prayer.” These aren’t the same. The proper attitude when giving a blessing is following the instruction given through the Lord’s servants. The counsel is the person receiving is sitting down (assuming they are healthy and able to sit down) and the brethren then stand in a circle. I assume we all could be kneeling, the receiver and giver but that would be awkward. I assume we all could even lay prostrate, but that idea leans toward light mindedness and sacrilegious toward a sacred gift. I think, in light of that ridiculous thought you can see clearly that comparing the attitude of giving blessings (standing) to prayer (standing, kneeling, or prostrate) isn’t the best comparison regarding the power or efficacy of a blessing.