What Did Jesus Teach About Prayer?

No one in the Bible prayed like a Muslim.

The Muslim prayer rituals entails a very specific and detailed step-by-step postures and recitations that was not done by anyone before Muhammad. Standing, facing the kaabah, raising the hands to the ears, reciting takbiratul ihram, placing the right hand on top of left hand on the chest, looking downwards, followed by more recitations and more postures of bowing and prostrating. There is even a stipulated way to sit on your left leg, with your right foot upright, what to do with your hands, and index finger ..etc, etc. Then you repeat the ritual.

Not one single person, in the Bible ever performed, let alone mention, any such prayer rituals in the Bible. In fact, it is not even found in the Quran!

What all Muslims have been trained to do is quote Matthew 26:39 as evidence of Islamic prayer., that Jesus prayed like a Muslim.

And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”

Matthew 26:39

Muslims cherry-pick one snapshot of Jesus’ prayer and in desperation force the entirety of Islamic prayer rituals into that one moment. Never mind the fact, that Jesus was speaking to the Father, not Allah. Never mind the fact that Jesus never recited anything that Muslims are supposed to recite. Never mind the fact that Jesus never ever said or taught anything about such rituals, postures, recitations and repetitions to His disciples. It was unheard of until Muhammad.

What must be particularly embarrassing for Muslims is how they try and force one step of their prayer ritual into a Book that they believe is corrupted, while failing to show anyone the detailed prayer rituals from their own Book.

Muslims think the posture of bowing or prostrating in prayer means it is Islamic.

The Hindus were doing it thousands of years before Muslims!
Do Hindus pray like Muslims or do Muslims pray like Hindus? Since Hindus have been doing these rituals long before it became part of Islamic rituals, it must be that Islam plagiarized their rituals and brought it into their practices. So in reality, Muslims pray like Hindus!

Buddhists practise this too. Religions and cultures have their own beliefs and rituals. It is shameful arrogance for Muslims to follow the act of prostrating that other religions practise and then claim it is Muslim. We have never seen a single Hindu who was blatant and arrogant to claim that everyone who prostrates must be praying the Hindu way!

In the Bile, there is no stipulated posture in prayer. There are many examples of prayer postures found in Scriptures. We are not instructed to follow any specific posture or a series of rituals in prayer.

Daniel knelt down when praying. (Daniel 6:10)
Solomon lifted his hands toward heaven when he prayed, (1 Kings 8:22-23)
Jesus looked up to heaven and prayed. (John 17:1)

Is this how Muslims pray? Which part of your Islamic prayer rakats do you do this? Did Allah change the way Muslims pray?  When? Can anyone show in the Quran where he gave Muslims a new way to pray from the time of Solomon or Daniel?

What Muslims claim about Matthew 26:39 is one snapshot of many ways to pray. (Note also the difference between prostrating (falling on one’s face) compared to bowing in the illustration above.)

Prayer is not about the postures of your body. It is the posture of your heart that counts to God. If your heart is right, God hears your prayer, whether you are standing or sitting or driving or jogging.

To insist that God will only hear your prayer if you face a certain direction or place your hands in the exact position and recite words precisely, is to insult God’s sovereignty and reduce Him to your level! The level of your postures!

What Did Jesus Really Teach About Prayer?

Did He ever say to stand like this, or recite those words or fold your arms this way or point your index finger, etc…? No. he never said anything about postures and rituals, which are the very essence of Muslim prayers.

Here is what Jesus did teach:

So then, this is how you should pray:
‘Our Father in heaven…

Matthew 6:9

The first thing we can learn, is that prayer is addressed to the Father. Which part of Islamic prayer rituals is addressed to the Father? Absolutely nothing at all. Allah is not Father.

The second lesson on praying. Jesus said: “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men…” Matthew 6:5

And this is exactly what Muslims do. Pray on the street corners and even in the middle of the street, inconveniencing road users. Jesus calls you who pray like this hypocrites. You do it to show off how pious you are.

Look at the ridiculous extent some Muslims will go to show off!

Third lesson of praying. Jesus said, “But when you pray, go into your inner room, shut your door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen..” Matthew 6:6
This simply means that your prayer is to be something personal, between you and God. Not a display to boast or show off on the street or in a subway.

Fourth lesson on praying. Jesus said, ” And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.” Matthew 6:7

Muslims prayers consist of recitations to be repeated over and over again. Many Muslims don’t even know what they are uttering in Arabic because they don’t speak or understand the language. They just babble the words they have been taught.

No where did Jesus instruct anyone to follow specified prayer postures or rituals or repetitions.

Muslims will still ask, “Well, Jesus did fall on His face in prayer” according to Matthew 26:39, so why don’t Christians pray that way?”
My response: How do you know how Christians pray? Have you stood next to us on the street corners? Or have you peeked into our prayer places?

Christians do pray in this manner. It is just not an action that is done on the street corners to show off like hypocrites. As I have already stated, prayer postures can take many forms including standing, sitting, bowing, prostrating, kneeling, etc.

A further misconception of Muslims is the act of prostrating or falling on one’s face in prayer. Is this the way Muslims do it? No.

In the Bible, when it describes someone falling on his face in prayer, this is the action performed. To be flat on the ground. This is the Jewish way. And as a Jewish, this is the what Jesus would have done as described in Matthew 26:39

A Christian falling on his face in prayer.