How People Pray

Let’s tackle three issues about prayer. First, why do Christians put their hands together when they pray? This custom is not rooted in the Bible, but in Roman culture. In the ninth century, a man would put his hands together as a symbol of submission, and it was accepted by the Christian Church.

Second, did you know that people used to say “grace” before each meal? In ancient times, food spoiled quickly, sometimes causing death. Nomadic tribes were often poisoned from eating bad food. Before a meal, they would ask the gods to protect them, and after a meal, they thanked their gods for the “grace” by which they were still among the living.

Third, why do we say “amen” after a prayer? The word “amen” appears 13 times in the Old Testament and 119 times in the New Testament. The word originated in Egypt around 2500 B.C. It meant “hidden one.” That evolved to mean “so it is,” and was passed down to both Christians and Muslims.

And here’s a fourth question. If we really believe in the power of prayer and in the God of the universe, why don’t we pray more? I wish I had a good answer to that one.

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