We sat in a conference room with a dozen strangers. Every Saturday morning, this group of people met for prayer. My husband and I came to observe and see if we might fit with them.
“Grab a copy of the prayer list,” the chaplain instructed. Someone picked up a paper and handed it to us. Needs of the organization around the world were printed on the page. The chaplain discussed the items on the list, then asked,
“This is the time we share the needs of our own group. Does anyone have requests?” A few people spoke up asking for prayer for members unable to attend. When the room became quiet again, the chaplain announced, “Let’s go to the Lord in prayer.”
Twelve chairs scraped backwards on the floor, and all participants, including the gray-headed, eased their way down to their knees, grasping the table edges for balance. My mouth fell open, and I looked at my husband. He nodded, and down we went, balancing on our bony knees on the cold floor to join our fellow Christians in prayer.
After recovering from surprise, I realized the gesture of kneeling embarrassed me. Then physical discomfort began to set in, and I adjusted my weight back and forth, first on one knee then the other. As the prayers continued, I was shamed at my prideful embarrassment. I began to feel something within me affirming the rightness of praying on our knees before the LORD our Maker. Knowing He rules over all things, we spoke our prayers with confidence and hope.
A few years passed, and now the group meets at a different location with mostly different people. We no longer kneel. Our prayers ring with desperation and fear for the state of our world. We unconsciously feel it’s up to us to solve the world’s problems, and we lose hope, knowing we are incapable. Then, indignation and blame permeate our requests. We forget God’s power over heaven and earth.
Kneeling doesn’t cause a magical reaction, but a kneeling attitude in my heart can change everything. I not only admit to, but rejoice in God’s superiority over all things and my inferiority to Him. This correct perspective assures me of His capable interest in the world, and humbles me to rely on His intervention and to accept His love. Without humbling, I don’t grasp the extent of God’s power or love and settle for anemic ideas of them.
Taking a knee physically jars me to remind myself to Whom I pray. At heart, I’m ready to begin prayer with an awe and appreciation for our Almighty and Everlasting Father.
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed by Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth, As it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:9-10
To aid your heart to kneel, ponder one or both of the following songs. For more Lenten meditations, look for a secondary blog on Thursday. LENT Week Two: Praying in the Wilderness