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Hello everyone! What are some of your favorite things to do on Sabbath? I like to watch nature shows, listen to music, and read! :)

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Whatís the best way to talk to God at night?


Whatís the best way to talk to God at night? When I kneel, my legs cramp, my head droops, and I canít think straight because of how tired I am. If I pray in bed, Iím more comfortable and I actually talk with Jesus. But after I finish praying, I fall asleep before I can listen to what He has to say. I feel like Iím missing the most important part. I also feel more respectful on my knees. What should I do?

Steve Answers:

Your question is a very practical one. I think it has more to do with you than with God.

You asked about body positions for prayer, and then you asked about listening to God after talking to God.

First of all, the most important element is that you pray. Many people don’t pray, or don’t pray very often, or pray only in emergencies. Simply praying rates way above any particular body posture.

Second, having regular seasons of prayer marks a positive lifestyle habit. Some find the morning works best, while others do it at night or maybe midday. This doesn’t mean a person shouldn’t pray at other times or spontaneously. It simply makes communication with God a way of life.

Now, for the prayer positions. You described kneeling at night with legs cramping, head drooping, and tiredness. I know that my prayers at night are quite short because once I get close to the bed, I tend to fall asleep quickly. I’m not the kind of person who reads in bed. It usually takes me just one to two minutes to fall asleep. So praying by the bed or in bed would mean a very short prayer for me.

But praying in bed works for you. So keep doing it! You aren’t more spiritual if you pray on your knees instead of lying in bed, especially if you’re distracted by cramping or a nodding head.

I think the reason people kneel to pray and bow their heads in prayer is to show submission to God, recognizing that God is the greatest and we’re not. We demonstrate that with royalty on a human level. Even a man will drop to his knee when proposing marriage to a woman. Of course, now there’s also “Tebowing” (dropping to one knee in prayer regardless of what’s going on around you—like NFL quarterback Tim Tebow).

If you’d like to get into a position more humble than kneeling, move to a prostrate position—flat on the ground with your face down (the original planking!). That’s the position Moses took when he interceded on behalf of the Israelites after their golden calf fiasco (see Deuteronomy 9:24, 25). You’ll find the same position in 1 Chronicles 29:20. This was the position of Jesus when He prayed in Gethsemane His final night before dying on the cross (Matthew 26:39).

But the prayer position doesn’t generate magic. The Bible also records that people took the same position (prostrate) when they worshipped false gods and idols (Isaiah 46:6).

Body position should be an extension of one’s prayer, not the formula for access to God. Go ahead and kneel, bow, bend, or go flat out when you’re praying in submission for forgiveness or intercession.

But that wouldn’t be the best posture when you’re praising God for His goodness. Then you might want to stand with arms stretched up, and with loud music accompanying your shouts of praise! Maybe you’ll jump as well! That’s the time to proclaim, “Hallelujah!” and really mean it.

You might want to go on a prayer walk and take the impressions God brings to you. Watch and listen and talk with God about the people, places, and things you discover through your senses as you walk. You could do that with your imagination while kneeling with your eyes closed, or you could take a walk or stroll and let God bring topics to your mind for prayer.

You mentioned that you often fall asleep while praying in bed or shortly thereafter, leaving you dozing when God might be responding to your prayers if you were listening instead of snoozing. Samuel got the shock of his life when God called him one night in his bed (see 1 Samuel 3:1-14). Samuel was asleep, and God awakened him. God can do the same for you if He needs to.
Perhaps you can add another time of the day to listen for God’s voice. According to Mark 1:35 Jesus also prayed early in the morning. Some people are morning people, and some are night people. And different people need different amounts of sleep.

If prayer is talking with God like you talk with a friend, remember that it’s possible to fall asleep even when a friend is talking to you! You simply need to make time when you’re awake to listen to God. Some do it while exercising, or commuting to school, or during lunch, or in times and places of solitude.
Busyness is the enemy of prayer. If you’re too busy to pray, you’re too busy. In order to have time for prayer, including listening to God, cut something out of your schedule.

Don’t wait for it to happen; create the time and place, the moments and space. God is always available. It’s up to us to make ourselves available to God.
Here’s a psalm (Psalm 121 from The Message)* about this great God to whom we pray:

I look up to the mountains;
    does my strength come from mountains?
No, my strength comes from God,
     who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.

He won’t let you stumble,
    your Guardian God won’t fall asleep.
Not on your life! Israel’s
    Guardian will never doze or sleep.

God’s your Guardian,
right at your side to protect you—
Shielding you from sunstroke,
     sheltering you from moonstroke.

God guards you from every evil,
he guards your very life.
He guards you when you leave and when you return,
     he guards you now, he guards you always.

*Texts credited to The Message are from The Message. Copyright
© 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission
of NavPress Publishing Group.

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