Kneeling While Praying?

Posted by Pastor Greg Allen on December 19, 2001 under Ask the Pastor | Be the First to Comment

Dear Pastor Greg,

“I pray everyday, the longest before going to sleep. But rarely do I ever get on my knees. It’s not because of bad knees, it’s more of being lazy or comfort. Do you think that weakens my prayer?” – Joni

Dear Joni:

Thanks for writing. The Bible doesn’t teach that the effectivness of our prayers depends on our bodily posture. In fact, we find examples in the Scriptures of lots of different postures being used in prayer. We find that King Solomon prayed a very serious prayer before the alter in the temple on his knees with his hands spread out before God (1 Kings 8:54). But we find that his father, King David, “sat” before the Lord and prayed (2 Samuel 7:18). Nehemiah, a servant of the king of Persia, prayed a very important prayer while standing in service before the king (Nehemiah 2:4). Jonah, of course, prayed while in the belly of a great fish (Jonah 2:2-9); and we can only imagine what sort of bodily position that would have required! King Hezekiah even prayed while very sick in his bed, turning his face to the wall (2 Kings 20:1-3). Psalm 4:4 strongly suggests that it’s certainly acceptable to pray to God while laying in bed. Given the variety of prayers we find in Scripture, I believe our prayers aren’t hindered if we do not kneel.

Prayer is the act of talking to God, and pouring out our concerns to Him. God loves us through His Son Jesus; and He delights in hearing from us. He isn’t nearly as concerned about our bodily position in prayer as we usually are. I believe His greatest concern is the condition of the heart being carried around in that body. We could have a very reverent body posture in prayer (even kneeling), and yet not have God hear our prayers because our hearts were not right with Him. Unrepentant sin can keep God from hearing our prayers (Isaiah 59:1-2; Psalm 66:18); or pride (Matthew 6:5; Luke 18:9-14); or even ill-treatment of one’s spouse (1 Peter 3:7).

Perhaps it’s best to let each situation determine which posture would be appropriate in prayer. The posture of our body should help us get our focus on Him rather than becoming a distraction to us, or become an end in itself. There are times when kneeling would be the most appropriate and natural way to communicate a reverent and humble heart in praying about a very serious matter. There are times when standing would be appropriate in a formal setting, such as during congregational prayer in church. There are other times when laying in bed and chatting with God is an appropriate and normal way to communicate our thankfulness for His love and care for us at the end of the day. There are times when praying quietly while walking, or driving, or standing in line is the appropriate way to turn our immediate concerns over to God’s sovereign care. It’s wonderful that the Almighty God allows us to speak to Him at any time, anywhere! What a privilege! The key to it all is to make sure our hearts are reverently submitted to God, that all known sin is confessed to Him, and that we have a clear conscience before Him. If we do that, the matter of our body posture will take care of itself.

Pastor Greg

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