Why do the Iglesia ni Cristo congregation stand while praying?
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Is it wrong to stand while praying?

Letter to the Editor:
PASUGO, January 2001, p.2

JESUS CHRIST  TEACHES that  when we pray we should not be like the hypocrites, for they love pray standing inside the synagogues and on the corners of streets that they may be seen by men (Mt. 6:5).  Why is it that your congregation stands while praying? Isn't this practice like what the  hypocrites do, and doesn't this practice contradict what is written in Psalms 95:6 which says "oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our maker"?

Rex Roxas

Editor's reply:

When the Lord Jesus Christ taught His disciples the proper way of praying (Mt. 6:5-13), He did not forbid them to stand while doing so. If we closely analyze the verse cited, Christ was questioning the motives—and not the position—of those who prayed:

“And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. .(Mt. 6:5, New King James Version)

The prayers of hypocrites who seek their own glory are unacceptable to the Lord. One can stand, sit, or kneel while praying and God will accept his prayer as long as he is not doing it in hypocrisy.

The Holy Scriptures records an instance wherein a person who beseeched God while standing up was accepted by the Almighty. The Lord Jesus Christ narrated:

“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get’. But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to have mercy on me, a sinner’. I tell you that  justified before God. For everyone who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Lk. 18:10-14, New International Version)

Notice that both the Pharisee and the tax collector were standing when they offered prayers to God. The tax collector who humbled himself and acknowledged his shortcoming was justified. The Pharisee who boasted of his “good” deeds wasn’t accepted.

In His teaching, Christ never proved that standing while praying is wrong:

 “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. (Mark 11:25, NKJV)

 Also, whenever you stand up to pray, if you have anything against anybody, forgive him so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. (Mk. 11:25, Moffatt Translation)

The Bible records show that the early people of God stood or knelt while praying (I Chron. 23:30; I Sam. 1:26; Lk. 22:41). Thus, it is wrong to conclude that those who stand while praying are like hypocrites. Prayers can be said while one is sitting, standing, or kneeling.


Bible Study Suggestion: If you have further questions, please feel free to visit the Iglesia ni Cristo congregation nearest you. A minister or an evangelical worker would be happy to answer any biblical question you have in mind.  For the latest Worship Service Directory of Iglesia ni Cristo Locales and Congregations outside the Philippines, please visit www.iglesianicristoworshipservice.com or just click link at home page.

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