Saturday, August 27, 2011

Kneeling in Prayer

 “Come let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.” Psalm 95:6-7

Two wives were mending trousers, each mending her preacher-husband’s pants. One said, “My poor James. He is so discouraged in his work. He’s thinking about resigning and finding a regular job. It seems nothing goes right for him.”

            The other wife said, “My husband says just the opposite. He is enthused. It seems like the Lord is closer to him than ever before.” A hushed silence fell as they continued to mend the trousers—one patching the seat and the other repairing the knees.

            My parents knelt with my sister and me at bedtime and we said goodnight to God, and we learned bowing by example. My mother often prayed on her knees through the day, too, behind a closed door. We lived in one of those houses that had an old fashioned key latch, with key hole. When she went in and closed the door, I peeked in and saw her kneeling in front of the toilet, hands clasped in prayer, no doubt pleading to make it through another day with her four little rascals.

            It's one of my most vivid memories of sneaking peeks at her through the keyhole of that old-fashioned doorplate, the kind unlocked by a skeleton key. God provided my mother with rest and re-creation and will also help any praying mother err on the side of sanity and love. My mother has a new home as of yesterday morning. Dad and three children were with her as she took her last breath. What a privilege to have been there at that moment and to have been her child.  

            The postures of prayer mentioned in the Bible are numerous — standing, lying face down on the ground, kneeling, hands lifted toward the heavens, eyes turned heavenward, and more. In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians he mentions his prayer posture, “I kneel before the Father” (3:14).

            Our culture is an ocean and several centuries removed from bowing before monarchs. A bow or curtsy indicated that the performer would defer to the person of higher rank, whether they wanted to or not. In private, when knees are bowed to God, there’s more involved than coerced obedience.

            A story of a father and son demonstrates forced compliance. Before seat belt laws, a traveling dad said to his pre-school son who was standing in the seat of their car, “Sit down, son.”

            The child didn’t sit down, but after several more verbal commands he did. Finally seated, the boy looked at his dad and said, “But I’m still standing on the inside.”

            In private, when knees are bent in prayer, it’s a voluntary act. When I was a teenager, I strayed from kneeling, but later on in life, I began praying on my knees again.

            The first few weeks of adopting that prayer pose were difficult. For me, it meant allowing God to look into all the rooms in my heart, including the locked ones that had skeleton keys.

            When kneeling, we’re physically closer to the earth, but somehow our hearts move to the courts of heaven. Try kneeling in prayer this week. Of course, you just might have to patch pant-knees but meanwhile God will be tailoring your life from above.

            Index card verse for week 34: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

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1 comment:

  1. You mom was a great lady. I know that because she shines through you. What a wonderful heritage she gave you of faith and trust in the One who lifts us all.