What Is the Correct Posture During the Our Father?

Hi everyone,

I’m getting conflicting answers on this question, not even priests seem to be on the same page on this one. Is it permissible for parishioners to open/extend hands during the Our Father? Growing up I never did it but ever since we’ve had kids we like to have them participate as much as possible.


No, it isn’t appropriate for laymen to extend their hands (assume the orans posture) when praying the Our Father. In fact, they shouldn’t be doing that at all during mass. Instead, the proper posture is to have your hands folded together in the “prayer hands” style.


Please search this topic in the archives.

It’s been beaten to death, dozens of times.

Nothing new will be found in rehashing it.




Two priests joined in the discussion in one recent thread on this subject, a couple of months ago. One of them said the orans posture (arms extended, hands raised) is okay and the other one said it’s not. So when even priests disagree among themselves …


My priest is a liturgist and says no. He also says he is not going to die on that hill, and if people want to hold their hands out, he’s not going to berate them for it. They’re still praying.


There’s nothing in the rubrics that specifies how laypeople are to hold their hands or arms. My usual thought on these things is to do whatever the parish practice it’s. When in Rome…


Standing in your pew with your hands folded in prayer.


That’s what I do. Our parish changed pastors recently. The previous one encouraged everyone to hold hands during the Our Father, all along every row; the new pastor doesn’t approve of that. I was okay with the old system and I’m okay with the new one too.

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Easter Blessings,


you’re wrong. the usccb said it’s cultural for parishioners to hold hands or have their hands open during the our father. it’s permitted. father wade menezes just talked about this on open line this week on ewtn radio.

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I just read in a document on the EWTN website that it seems to be primarily with English speakers for some reason. Granted this document is aging at this point but thought it was interesting anyway.


Found this with the USCCB.


I’m personally not a fan, but to each their own.


No, the liturgical books do not permit lay people or deacons to have open/extended hands during the Our Father.

From the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM):
“237. Then the principle celebrant, with hands joined, says the introduction to the Lord’s Prayer. Next, with hands extended, he says the Lord’s Prayer itself with the other concelebrants, who also pray with hands extended, and together with the people.”

From the Ceremonial of Bishops, Stational Mass of the Diocesan Bishop:
“159 After the doxology of the eucharistic prayer, the bishop, with hands joined, introduces the Lord’s Prayer, which all then sing or say; the bishop and the concelebrants hold their hands outstretched.”

From the GIRM: “124. … When the Entrance Chant is concluded, with everybody standing, the Priest and faithful sign themselves with the Sign of the Cross.”

Chapter 4 of the Ceremonial of Bishops is titled “General Norms”. It has near the beginning of the chapter “Before describing the individual rites, it seems advisable to state some general norms that have proved valid by long use and that should be followed”. Section V is headed “POSITION OF THE HANDS”. It begins:
“Raised and outstreched hands 104. Customarily in the Church a bishop or presbyter addresses prayers to God while standing and with hands slightly raised and outstreched. …”
Another part of this is: “Joined hands 107. Unless the bishop is holding the pastoral staff, he keeps his hands joined: [footnote 80. “Hands joined” means: “Holding the palms sideward and together before the breast, with the right thumb crossed over the left” (Caeremoniale Episcoporum, ed. 1886, I, XIX, 1) when, vested, he walks in procession for the celebration of a liturgy; when he is kneeling at prayer; when he moves from altar to chair or from chair to altar; when the liturgical books prescribe joined hands. Similarly, concelebrants and ministers keep their hands joined when walking from place to place or when standing, unless they are holding something.”

I also discuss this issue in a video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZktvVhOFyF0 which is about 6 minutes.

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Nooooooo, runs screaming. Not again… he said, she said, they said


It’s even MORE important to be charitable toward others during mass and not judge our brothers and sisters who hold hands during the our father or pray with their arms open.

I wish some people on CAF would care more about not judging others than they would care about whether or not someone has their hands up or down during the our father. Just close your eyes if you can’t stop judging others. jeez


As for me, i have been to churches where people mostly pray extending hands and arms stretched posture. If that is the case, i personally choose to do the hands together praying posture, that’s just how i pray. However, i have been to churches where people hold hands in pews while praying the Our Father. If that’s the case and somebody wants to grab my hand, sure why not…? If nobody is making an attempt for my hand, i’ll just pray as i always do :pray:


I am looking at it from a practical view right now. I am using names to make it easier to understand.

Charlie, standing in the pew, holding out his hands to the sides, will interfeer with Susan’s area of standing. Susan is shorter that Charlie and is likely going to get hit in the face when Charlie starts to move side to side if there is a sudden noise of if he gets “spiritual high” when praying. Pews are full with people and Susan’s focus is likely going to be on trying not to get hit in her face instead of praying the Our Father.

Elbows bent 90 degrees and palms up is, in my opinion, a better solution, or having hands joined together in a prayer position. If family members hold hands that is one thing but it is not culturally accepted to hold hands with non-family members in some areas of the world. The Catholic Church is worldwide and people move to other countries as well as visit so there should be some general guidelines for the people in the pews that are accepted as norm.


Good thing I don’t live in the US.


I can only tell you how we do it in our parish. GIRM (General Instruction of the Roman Missal) does not say we should open up the palm of hands during the Our Father, thus we don’t. (It is for the celebrant only).There may be people who do, but GIRM does not instruct us to do so.

From my observation, at least in a parish where people are more mild, it is easier to follow the majority. When the majority stop putting up their hands, eventually such action would die down.

Hope that helps.

God bless.

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Typically I pray with my hands together. Sometimes I see people extending their hands. I think I am able to focus more when I keep my hands closed even throughout the liturgy – which is important for me because my mind wanders so easily.

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