What is your attitude toward and practice of kneeling in worship and prayer?
I love history, whether it be American, sports, or His-Story, i.e., God’s Story. For example, check out “The Story of Reality” by Greg Koukl.
One of my seminary professors helped me understand the Greek and Roman worlds of the first century through lectures and readings. I learned the Greeks and Romans rejected kneeling as part of their worship (unless they were commanding subjects to acquiesce to their leadership, of course). They said kneeling was unworthy of a free man, unsuitable for the Greco-Roman culture, and appropriate only for barbarians.
First century scholars thought of kneeling as a form of superstition. Some even called it a form of barbaric behavior. Yet throughout history people have knelt before their captors, their so-called superiors, or to victors after a loss in battle. Whether forced or chosen, kneeling happens.
Read Psalm 95.
The people of God have always recognized and willingly surrendered to the supreme authority of the One True God.
In Psalm 95:6, the writer indicates that kneeling reveals and expresses a deep reverence for God.
In verse six, the psalmist uses three words to define the attitude and posture of a true worshiper. The first word is worship, which means to fall prostrate as a sign of honor to the Lord. The word also means that the person gives their allegiance to Him as their Ruler.
The second word the psalmist uses is bow. This means to sink down to your knees, giving and showing respect to the Lord. He is Almighty, matchless in love, and wonderful, so we bow.
The third word used is kneel, which means to humble yourself as you acknowledge the supremacy of the King. You go to your knees in order to give praise to God. He is to be revered.
According to the writer of Psalm 95, kneeling in God’s presence, whether in praise or prayer, is a sign of reverence not barbaric behavior. It means the kneeler recognizes Someone bigger, better, authoritative, and awesome. The sheer brilliance of His character causes us to bow down.
One of the keys to real and authentic worship is not just the physical response of kneeling, but a corresponding attitude of the heart. I remember an incident in high school when a bully tried to intimidate a friend into kneeling as a sign of his superiority over him. I was so proud of my friend for withstanding the pressure to bow down. There was no reason to give in to a bully.
Yet Psalm 95 gives us many reasons to gladly kneel before the Lord: He is our Maker, and the Rock of our salvation. He is great and the Creator of all. We belong to Him and He cares for us.
Grow devotionally. Our physical posture matters when we approach our King, so kneel as a form and discipline of worship and prayer. But the attitude of our heart matters just as much.
Love is a verb,
©2019 by Mike Olejarz