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Prayer Pose

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"Help me, anime Jesus..."

This is a stock pose. Males can be found doing it, but it's especially common among females, particularly within promotional material. The hands are clasped or the palms meet each other (this is a variation with the same emotional meanings) either in front of the chest or in front of the face. Light radiating from either the background or the hands is a common added touch. This is a gesture that generally indicates prayer of some kind, but not always. Sometimes, it's used more for its emotional value, in order to indicate someone who is pure of heart instead. Bonus points if it happens in a church.

Contrast Finger-Tenting.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Used creatively in Fullmetal Alchemist. Edward Elric's transmutations involve clapping his hands together. Most alchemy requires the use of drawn-out "transmutation circles", but Ed has learned how to essentially turn his body into a transmutation circle. As pointed out by both Ling and Rose in Brotherhood, it looks much like prayer. Appropriate, considering the divine-like powers of alchemists, and Ed's struggles against evil.
  • FLCL episode 2 "Firestarter". After Canti the robot floats into the sky, he assumes a kneeling position with his hands clasped in prayer.
  • In Ranma ½, Ranma assumes this pose during the koi rod of love storyline and occasionally at other times such as when he prays at his ancestors grave.
  • Digimon: Goddramon is shown performing a Buddhist variation in its stock art.
  • Code Geass: As pictured above, C.C is at times seen like this, even when she's not as archetypically innocent and pure as the standard example. The most famous instance is at the end of the second season, when she's praying with her hands clasped and tearing up as she waits for the deployment of Lelouch's Thanatos Gambit.
  • In Sailor Moon Super S, Chibi-Usa clasps her hands and kneels right before she summons Pegasus.
    • In the last episode of Stars, Sailor Galaxia's remaining inner goodness is briefly seen like this in a field of flowers, tearful and lonely, until Sailor Moon manages to reach for her, purify and redeem her.
  • Played straight in Sword Art Online when Asuna prays over Kazuto's body when Kazuto is fighting for his life in Gun Gale Online against Death Gun who he defeats when he remembers him as Red Eyed Zaza. Even Yui takes on this pose and prays for Kazuto's safety.
  • Asia, Xenovia, and Irina are all frequently seen doing this in the High School D×D anime. Logical enough, since they're actually practising Christians. For Asia and to a lesser extent Xenovia, this is normally followed by clutching their head, having forgotten that trying to invoke the divine while being a devil results in a headache of divine retribution.
  • In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Kyoko does this right after an actual prayer to God, and just before sacrificing herself to defeat Oktavia von Seckendorff. It's justifiable, given her religious background.
  • Before Pickle eats Katsumi Orochi's arm in Baki the Grappler, he falls to his knees, clasps his hands, and silently gives thanks. It's worth noting that Pickle is a Homo Erectus, but still instinctively knows how to pray.

  • Alexandre Cabanel's The Fallen Angel: Subverted. Lucifer has his hands clasped but he's not holding them in front of his chasted but very skewed to his left. This indicates that even if he's hurting for having betrayed God, he no longer keeps God close to his heart nor is going to obey him anymore.
  • Four Freedoms: The people in the bottom row of Freedom from Worship. The Catholic woman is clasping a rosary in her hands, while the Protestant woman and a man behind her of indeterminant religion have their palms clapped together.

    Comic Books 
  • In a Marvel vs DC crossover, before Thor's battle with Captain Marvel, he says that in a situation like this there is only one thing appropriate for heroes with the powers of gods to do: pray. Cap is shown kneeling with his hands clasped, while Thor is on one knee with his hands resting on Mjolnir.

  • At a point of Hellsister Trilogy, John Constantine is feeling hopeless enough to pray, so he falls to his knees and clasps his hands together.
  • In Doing It Right This Time, Asuka assumes this pose when she goes to a church to thank God for performing a reality-reboot.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Metropolis, the first sequence in the underground cathedral, Frieder is kneeling with clasped hands and backlighting to create a halo effect.
  • 5 Card Stud, a 1968 Western starring Dean Martin, Roddy McDowell and Robert Mitchum. A man cheats in a poker game and is caught and lynched by most of the other players; later on, the members of the lynch mob are murdered one by one, and a player who was out cold during the lynching (Martin) turns sleuth to avoid the same fate himself. One of the victims is found with his hands clasped in prayer, which is thought oddly uncharacteristic. The culprit was a preacher new to the area (played by Mitchum) who was secretly the brother of the murdered cheat, out to punish his brother's killers. By the way, Martin also sang the film's theme song.
  • The Passion of Joan of Arc: Joan, upon receiving communion.

  • When Richenda invokes the quarters (calls the archangels by name) for Nigel's empowering ritual in The King's Justice, she finishes by "bowing her head over hands joined palm-to-palm in an attitude of prayer". Light then washes out to finish Warding the ritual circle before Kelson begins his part.
  • Lampshaded in Deception Point, where the main character notes that the others might think she's doing this when they're left for dead on an ice flow but is actually preparing to tap out morse code since she knows that the organisation she works for has a listening post (although they're actually saved by a passing submarine that was investigating all the activity that lead to said stranding).

    Live-Action TV 
  • The final episode of Angel was advertised with a full page ad of David Boreanaz as Angel in this pose.
  • Sherlock uses this pose frequently, but as a sign of concentration while he's thinking, rather than any form of actual prayer or supplication.
  • Star Trek: Picard: In "Nepenthe", after Elnor activates the Fenris Rangers SOS token, he closes his eyes and clasps his hands next to his mouth in what is presumably the Qowat Milat form of prayer.


    Pro Wrestling 
  • The Straight Edge Society once posed a picture with Serena and Luke Gallows in prayer pose with "Straight Edge Messiah" CM Punk standing behind them.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Classic Traveller adventure Action Aboard - Adventures on the King Richard. Sister Mary Torget is a passenger aboard the starship ISSV King Richard. Her illustration shows her in nun's clothing and in this pose.

  • Several times in Cesare - Il Creatore che ha distrutto, as to be expected since about half the characters are Catholic priests (including three future popes). Cesare does this during the "Agnus Dei" Song of Prayer after the climax of the story, and Lorenzo de'Medici does it after seeing his son Giovanni become a cardinal (historically, his last public appearance before he died).

    Video Games 
  • In Captain Bible in Dome of Darkness, Captain Bible does one whenever he's praying in a church to regain faith/health.
  • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc: right in the middle of Celestia's execution, they're seen taking up this pose, trying to Face Death with Dignity when they're about to be burned at the stake... or so it seems.
  • Alsanna, the Silent Oracle in Dark Souls II has this pose. Along with sitting on her knees, it helps hide the fact that she has a Navel-Deep Neckline that is not meant to be sexy.
  • In Dragon Age: Inquisition, near the end of Cullen's romance path, the Inquisitor walks in on him reciting part of the Chant of Light while in this pose, as he attempts to draw strength from faith to combat his fear that the fight with Corypheus will cost the life of his beloved.
  • Love Nikki - Dress Up Queen has Queen Nanari doing this in her sprites, probably to emphasize her position as the Big Good of the game.
  • Final Fantasy VII. When Aeris/Aerith is killed, she is kneeling with her hands clasped in prayer.
  • Subverted in Final Fantasy X. The prayer pose to the big religion, Yevon, is an elaborate version of the one described above. Thing is, it's actually a corruption of the prayer for Victory from a city destroyed a thousand years ago.
  • When a White Mage player in Final Fantasy XIV uses their level three Limit Break, they can be seen kneeling down and in a prayer pose.
  • Miitopia:
    • Miis will have this pose when they are wishing on a shooting star during a campfire.
    • Elves will adapt this pose when they use "Forest Aegis".
    • This also serves as the default pose of the Princess of Greenhorne and the Middle Fab Fairy.
  • Soul Calibur IV: often invoked by Sophitia in her victory poses, including one where she kneels and clasps her hands together, bowing her head, as she implores the gods for their divine protection.

    Web Animation 
  • DSBT InsaniT: Asia always stands like this, to reflect her proper and polite demeanor.

    Web Comics 

    Real Life 
  • Buddhist Monks often walk with their hands in prayer position (it's called walking meditation). It's common for Kung Fu monks to fight their enemies with one arm while the other maintains the prayer position.
  • The Praying Mantis (insect) is called that because its forelimbs look like they're in a prayer pose.
  • Former Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, an outspoken and devout Christian, frequently adopted a kneeling pose with his head bowed and one hand in a fist near his face or forehead which has become known as Tebowing.
  • During the Middle Ages, the prayer pose was different. Instead of hands clasped together, the hands were crossed over the chest. A kindly monk in Italy decided to create a reward for children who had learned their prayers, and found some scraps of bread dough in the monastery kitchen, which he formed into a heart shape reminiscent of the prayer pose of the time. He called it prettiola ("little reward")...thus, the pretzel was born.
    • And even earlier, during the Roman Empire, the usual prayer pose was the orans: the person stands upright, arms outstretched, elbows bent, and hands pointing up (basically, the "hands up and surrender" pose). Interestingly enough, the pose has been resurrected by Baptist and Pentecostal churches in the modern day.
      • The Romans stole that from the Egyptians.
    • The gesture that we know as this trope actually came from feudal ceremonies of homage or vassalage — the person pledging fealty presented his clasped hands to his lord as a gesture of submission, and the lord would clasp his hands in return, as shown in this illustration.