Mat Foster – Seated or standing for the bread and cup?

Stand or seated prayer for bread and cup?

Care taken when transposing the model to fit all examples, but there seems to be good scriptural precedent that Jesus was seated at the breaking of bread with his disciples.

There might be OT examples, but be aware that things might change

Mat 6

5. And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

6. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

7. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

8. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

9. After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

“they love to pray standing” – this is about being seen and does not seem to be with humility

More detail on this in Luke.

Luke 18

10. Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.

11. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.

12. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

13. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

v13 – although standing, in the temple (of which an eccelsial hall is of course not representative of this) – the sense of humility is really drawn out – This is also the only example I can find in the NT where someone is standing whilst seeming making a confession and request to God.

Acts 10

Just an example of someone following the correct teaching and showing a reference where standing and making request come together, it isn’t the same person doing it however, but there is a juxtaposition of the two people. One praying, the other standing.

30. And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed (made request) in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing,

31. And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God.

Here, Cornelius is doing exactly what Mat 6 instructs – he is in his house. The person described as standing is an obviously a messenger of God.

Mat 26

19. And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover.

20. Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve.

21. And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.

22. And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I?

23. And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me.

24. The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.

25. Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said.

26. And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.

27. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;

Mark 14

18. And as they sat and did eat, Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, One of you which eateth with me shall betray me.

19. And they began to be sorrowful, and to say unto him one by one, Is it I? and another said, Is it I?

20. And he answered and said unto them, It is one of the twelve, that dippeth with me in the dish.

21. The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born.

22. And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body.

23. And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it.

Luke 24 – Quite compelling….

29. But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.

30. And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it,and brake, and gave to them.

Consider feeding of four and five thousand

Mat 14 – Jesus COMMANDS

19. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.

20. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.

Mat 15

35. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground.

36. And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.

37. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full.

Mark 6 – The sitting down has even more structure! – If anyone was standing up it seems to be the person giving the prayer, the rest of the company who are being fed the bread are explicitly sitting.

39. And he commanded them to make all sit down by companies upon the green grass.

40. And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties.

41. And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all.

42. And they did all eat, and were filled.

Luke 9 – Massive emphasis on sitting.

14. For they were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, Make them sit down by fifties in a company.

15. And they did so, and made them all sit down.

If scripture gives examples of Jesus and his disciples sitting down while the break and wine are taken, it is really important to think about why we do it and if you do it, what are you showing by doing this?

I had a thought that might show this….

In Mat 26 v 20

Jesus is sitting eating with the disciples…

20. Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve.

The greek word here is also translated as “guest” in other places.

We therefore perhaps understand that being a “guest” is being able to be in this position, this is what makes you a guest somewhere… such as in Mat 22…

Parable of the wedding feast – read v1 – 13

The guests are mentioned in v 10 and 11.

Therefore, the people invited to the wedding become “guests” or those that “sit/recline” at the wedding.

Also Luke 14 – the sitting appears there when you are invited to a wedding..

7. And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them,

8. When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him;

9. And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room.

10. But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee.

11. For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

I therefore wonder, that by remaining seated, we are showing that we are called to be “guests” or those that sit at meat in the wedding, because of course, we symbolising the marriage supper of the lamb that we look forward to….

I think this helps in providing context as to WHY it is important that sitting during those prayers is important.

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