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
8 thoughts on “Take a knee”
I love this and this thought on kneeling whether in our hearts or physically. When I visit our son’s church, where they kneel to pray, I notice the physical discomfort but I also appreciate the humble posture.
Thanks Elizabeth. I grew up in such a church and miss kneeling at times. It’s like any tool, it can be very helpful but become meaningless after time. We need to “shake it up” sometimes to wake up, the “it” being any habit which we want to penetrate our hearts.
When I went to the Catholic Church, for many many years, I knelt many times & never once found it tedious. I was kneeling to honor our Sovereign Lord & King. I felt that this was one way I could show Him respect and I did look forward to it. As I have aged, I still kneel to Him, in my heart, & I often wish that I could physically kneel before Him now. He knows my heart & He knows that my prayers are sincere. My heart is open to Him & I always ask Him to fill it with His kind of love & thank Him that I have access to Him. He is in charge of everything & I know it will ALL work out for good. I just trust & completely believe in Him.
I grew up kneeling too, but usually didn’t think about it. That’s just what we did, but as an adult member at a not-kneeling church, it means much more to me now.
thank you for these reminders Suzy. with moving from place to place, I have been pleased to be exposure to many church traditions and practices over the years. One i treasure is falling to my knees to pray, there have been times due to the urgency and gravity of the prayers I have bowed my face to the ground or lain prostrate on the ground. somehow when the needs are great, i desire to be that much more humble when i approach the throne of grace.
thanks to for your meditations
Yes, indeed, Felicia. Sometimes we haven’t the strength or confidence to do more than prostrate ourselves before our Lord.
Our tiny church plant meets in a home. Most of us are senior citizens, so there is not real place to kneel or for some even the ability. But I miss the act. Before I was at our little Anglican church, I spent several years in another denomination where standing not kneeling was practiced. I often thought how I missed the “freedom” to kneel. I know there have been times during our present crisis that I have found the best way to enter into conversation and petition with the Lord is on my face. I always get up relieved and refreshed.
Thank you, Carol, for sharing your experience. I’m sorry that I didn’t realize you were in a crisis. Yes, in those extreme instances, on our face is where we land. He lifts us up.