The Prayer Covering

In our day many attempts are made to obliterate the lines of distinction between the sexes. Women cut their hair and sometimes dress like men, and longhaired men are becoming a common sight. The Bible teaches that there should be a distinction between the sexes, and that it is degrading for a man to wear long hair, but that long hair is appropriate and proper for the Christian woman. Early records show that even Jesus had a close-cropped haircut (see Vollmer, The Modern Student’s Life of Christ, Revell, page 286). The Bible (in 1 Corinthians 11)gives three reasons why the man’s hair should be short (and uncovered in prayer), and the woman’s hair should not be shorn (but veiled when praying and prophesying):


(1) The theological reason (1 Corinthians. 11:2-6)– The issue centers around authority. In God’s order, the woman cooperates with man’s leadership, and the veiling is a sign of her acceptance of that authority and his leadership role.


(2) The biblical reason (1 Corinthians. 11:7-12) — The facts of creation (as given in Genesis 1 and 2) are discussed. God created the man first. The woman was in turn made from the man, and this simple order in creation is to be respected in the church.


(3) The physical reason (1 Corinthians. 11:13-16)– Even nature shows a distinction between the sexes, and nature shows the female as modest and retiring. Nature everywhere teaches us that the Creator distinguishes between the sexes, and it is proper for men and women to appear differently as described in 1 Corinthians 11.


The woman who is committed to Jesus Christ will veil her hair for several reasons:

(1) It honors the Lord Jesus when we obey the Word of God (1 Corinthians 11:6).

(2) It shows willingness to accept her place in God’s order for the man-woman relationship (1 Corinthians 11:3).


(4) It symbolizes a constant attitude of prayer and of dependence upon God (1 Corinthians 11:5).

The Christian woman is a praying woman. She prays for her family, relatives, neighbors, friends, enemies, and world conditions. She believes that the God of the Scriptures is real, and that He is infinite in power, and that there are needs in life which cannot be met in one’s own strength. The veiling is a symbol of her communion with God through prayer.


–Harold S. Martin