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Prayer Pose

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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.

Contrast Clasp Your Hands If You Deceive.



Anime and Manga

  • Used creatively in Fullmetal Alchemist. Edward Elric's transmutations involve clapping his hands together. As pointed out by 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.

Film — Animated

Film — Live-Action

  • Metropolis, the first sequence in the underground cathedral, Frieder is kneeling with clasped hands and backlighting to create a halo effect.
  • Five 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

  • Sherlock uses this pose frequently, but as a sign of concentration while he's thinking, rather than any form of actual prayer or supplication.
  • The final episode of Angel was advertised with a full page ad of David Boreanaz as Angel in this pose.


Professional Wrestling

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

Tabletop RPG

  • 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.

Video Games

Web Comics

Web Original

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

Western Animation

  • The Princess and the Frog: it's the standard "wishing on a star" pose. Both Tiana and Charlotte do it, while repeating "Please, please, please!"

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 adopts 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.