Faces Lifted Up

Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf. – 2 Corinthians 1:11

The Apostle Paul spends much of the book of 2 Corinthians defending his apostleship. He appears to be greatly burdened, and thus greatly appreciative of the love, support, and prayers on his behalf by the Corinthian believers.

For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you. – 2 Corinthians 2:4

woman-571715_1280After studying the meaning of the Greek words in 2 Corinthians 1:11, I was delighted to discover a lovely bit of imagery hidden between the lines. The phrase “many persons” means faces; that is, it referred to faces of many believers turned up to God in prayer, as in the early Jewish and Christian posture of prayer. Commentator David Guzik references Bernard, who describes this as “standing with uplifted eyes and outstretched arms.”

What a comfort that image must have been to the Apostle Paul: many brothers and sisters in Christ beseeching God on his behalf, their faces and palms turned heavenward.

As it happens, Jesus also prayed in this manner for his disciples.

And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. – Luke 24:49-51

To me, both the posture and subject of these prayers have provided insight and inspiration.

bible-1948778_1280God desires that we open ourselves utterly to him as we pray, body and soul. While praying with head bowed, or on one’s knees, reveals humility, why not also try praying with eyes and hands lifted to heaven?

And, when we pray in this way, may it be for others, as it was when the Corinthian believers prayed for Paul, and when Jesus blessed his disciples.

Right now, our ministry leaders and missionaries need our prayers more than ever, just as the Apostle Paul did during a difficult time in his life and ministry.

I look forward to finding a private place to pray, where I can lift up my hands and heart, on behalf of the ministry leaders and missionaries in my life.

Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice. – Psalm 141:2

What is your typical posture of prayer? Who are you particularly praying for right now? I very much appreciate your comments.

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13 thoughts on “Faces Lifted Up”

  1. That posture has always struck reminders of a child when they want you to pick them up, and hold them. When they just want YOU. 🙂 🙂 I don’t know why it always makes me feel that way when I am in that prayer posture, or when I see some one who is 🙂 It always makes me feel like I am that child reaching up for God to swoop me up in His arms, and love on me. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I never know how to reply to, “Margaret, you made me cry” hehehe 🙂 I pray it is always a good way 🙂 tears of joy. It was a blessing to read your post. That is one of my most favorite thoughts 🙂 The Lord blesses is like that when we least expect it. It was as if He knew I needed a hug, and He used your post to do it.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. My posture depends on whether I’m, well, on the job, or not. During a service, I am standing with head bowed, or kneeling. When I am somewhere by myself, especially out in the country, my eyes lift toward the horizon in appreciation of the beauty and grandeur of the world we’ve been given.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, Mike. Often, during the summer months when I spend my quiet time outside, I can’t help but look to the horizon, across the fields or woods, as I pray. We are surrounded by natural beauty that seems to emphasize the realization of God’s presence, within me, and all around me.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. As far as who I’m praying for– as we inch closer to in-person services again, I am prayerfully hoping that those who have taken for granted the ability to attend regular services will return with renewed spirit, hungry for what the virus had taken away. The Church needs their energy.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Meredith, thank you. This was good! I learn much, too, by looking at the root meaning of words, for some things don’t get translated well into English.

    Regarding my posture, I am more of the belief that physical posture or position is not what it is important, but what is important is our spiritual posture and position. For, we can pray in many different physical positions, and if our prayers are not sincere, or if we are holding sin in our hearts, then our physical position doesn’t really matter a whole lot.

    So, when I think of faces, eyes and hands lifted to heaven, I think more in terms of what we set our minds on, what we set our hearts on, what are we focused on, what do our characters (faces) reflect, and what about our deeds (hands), and what about our eyes (spiritual vision and discernment)? Are they lifted to heaven? Are they focused on Jesus and for his glory?

    Same thing applies with head bowed and on our knees, both having to do with humility and submission to God. Are we humble before God? Are we living in submission to him? In our prayers, are we humbling ourselves before him and being in submission to him?

    So, that is my thinking on the subject, and therefore I pray with eyes opened or closed, sitting or standing, walking or riding or being stationary in one place, etc. And, I pray continually, for prayer to me is open communication with God to where he can speak to us and us to him any time of any day or night and we listen and we respond, and vice versa, wherever we are, no matter what our physical position might be at the moment.

    Thank you for asking for our input. I appreciate it. And, I appreciate what you wrote here, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I also pray in the three postures you mentioned. I have since prayed with hands and face up, but I seem to focus better if – even in that position – I still shut my eyes and imagine being at the throne of God, rather than with eyes open.

      Liked by 1 person

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