Sunday, December 12, 2010


I'll admit something: I like to pray lying down. I find I'm able to relax and not be so distracted by my aching back or knees, and I enjoy it because I'm comfortable. In short, it feels less like work, and I'm not watching the clock for when time is up. I'm just enjoying the quiet time with God.

Sometimes I fall asleep. Actually a lot of the time. Is this a bad thing? Some people would say it is fine, I'm sure, "it's enough that you're praying." But people more serious about prayer I think would say it's a sign of laziness, the lying down. What if I lie down and don't fall asleep, though? Isn't the falling asleep the danger?

I like to think of a child laying at the feet of his father who is ignorant of the "proper" posture. I used to lie down on the bench in the Adoration chapel at St. Mary of the Assumption in Manayunk, and one time I got in trouble for doing it. Not trouble, really, but the overseer of the chapel thought I was a vagrant or something that was just napping. I know it must have looked odd, or disrespectful, but I didn't care. I was alone in the chapel, and laying before my Lord like a child.

Is there a right way to pray? Most people would say that conversing with God or being still in His presence is the important thing, and it doesn't matter what posture you assume. But I'm not so sure. I think my desire to lie down in prayer comes in large part from not wanting prayer to be work, of wanting to be comfortable, and perhaps from laziness. Perhaps the position is more associated with sleep, then being alert, like Jesus says in Mark 13: "If he comes, do not let him find you sleeping." Then again, I would rather lie down for 15 minutes of prayer than not pray at all, if it came to that.

What do you think, readers? Am I just a lazy bum looking for an excuse to rest, or does praying lying down have any value at all? How do you pray?

1 comment:

Duncan said...

Someone asked Benjamin Franklin his "secret" to long life.

Franklin's response was something like this, "I never stand when I can sit, I never sit when I can lay down."