“Come let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.” Psalm 95:6
I loved to read as child and disliked being put to bed, especially if I was right in the middle of a good story. One night, I got out of bed so I could try to read by the light coming in from under the door. I don’t know how my mom knew that I was up, but she did. She came into my room and found me on my knees by my bed. She asked me what I was doing. Trying to cover, I said, “I’m praying.” She knew I wasn’t that devote or maybe it was the telltale book beside me. She said, “Yes, you’d better start praying now” as she confiscated my book.
Growing up, kneeling for prayer was an uncomfortable form. You hoped that no one prayed too long as you could feel your feet falling asleep. Like lying prostrate, kneeling isn’t an easy position.
When camels lower themselves, they go down front knees first which take the greatest beating, developing hard callouses. James, the author of that book of the Bible, was nicknamed “Old Camel Knees” from kneeling so long his knees became hard and deformed like a camel. That is devotion!
While we all pray differently, there is much to be said for this kind of focus. A prayer position shouldn’t be done as merely a form, but as the best way to enter into prayer or a response of obedience to the Lord. Because I don’t particularly like this form, when I kneel, its usually about obedience in the moment to what God is saying. Its humbling and symbolic of humility as we bow low before the One who is worthy of all of our praise.
Interestingly, there isn’t a whole lot of Scriptural references to kneeling in prayer. The one above from Psalms and then a few in the New Testament where people knelt before Jesus. The term “bow down” is used a little more frequently, but still not as common as you would think. Kneeling shows our honor of God as Lord of our lives, as our Creator and Sustainer.
If kneeling isn’t a part of your normal prayer pattern, try it a few times. How do you feel different when you do? Does it open up a unique place of communication?