Friday, February 4, 2011

On My Knees

Why do so few take to their knees to pray anymore? Has the devil really convinced us that it makes no difference? Or are we just too lazy? Is it possible that we could be missing out on something great, merely because we think this simple act of worship has no real power or meaning?

It does make a difference. Yes, our prayers are heard whether we sit, stand, walk, or lie down. But we should not be so deceived as to think that our bodily position has no effect on our spiritual orientation. CS Lewis addresses this subject briefly in The Screwtape Letters. He asserts (through clever reverse psychology) that what the body does, the soul will do as well. They are deeply connected. This is a fact many people completely overlook or fail to realize. Don’t be fooled, it really does matter. Here’s why:

  1. Kneeling before the Lord promotes humility. The act of kneeling before the Savior in total surrender is not a vain act or merely a religious tradition. What the body does, the spirit will likewise do. Don’t believe me? Try it. You will find it easier for your heart to conform to a spirit of humility when your body is already “humbled before the Lord!”
  2. Kneeling before the Lord in prayer centers our thoughts on Christ. When I kneel to pray, I am constantly reminded of my reason for doing so. When I lie in bed, praying silently, I often drift off to sleep. When I walk around or stand, I am easily distracted. But when I kneel, I find the presence of the Lord and am able to focus my thoughts on Him.
  3. Kneeling to pray affirms and exalts Christ as head in our lives. When else do you kneel before anyone? It’s simply no longer done, at least not as an act of reverence. When I literally “offer my body as a living sacrifice,” kneeling before the King of the Universe, I offer to him an expression of worship that is exclusive to him, and say with my body as well as my mind and spirit, “You are my King, you deserve my all, and I worship You alone."
  4. It requires a small, but conscious effort that should represent our willingness to do things for God, things that require effort on our part, simply because He is worthy. David says, “I will not offer to the Lord my God sacrifices that have cost me nothing.” See also Psalm 95:6 “Come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker!
I have to admit, I myself was convicted by this. I started writing it probably about a year ago, and have just now returned and read it. I know the truth of it, and yet the same factors that have hindered my prayers so often have also been hindering me from kneeling when I do pray. Here are my reasons; see if any of them sound familiar:
  1. Laziness. I don’t WANT to get out of bed at 5:10 AM and kneel on the floor. It’s cold down there! I can really relate to Peter and the apostles, to whom Jesus said “the spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” I’m a baby about getting out from under my nice warm covers.
  2. Guilt: Sometimes when I haven’t prayed for a while, I keep having this feeling that when I finally do go to the Lord, he’ll be waiting to pound me with this big hammer that says “ah HAH! You haven’t had a REAL discussion with me for…over 12 days. Shame on you!” I KNOW that’s not how God works, but isn’t that how our brains kinda feel sometimes? When I kneel, I hear God more distinctly speaking to me, I think because my own soul is quieted before him. That makes it easier for him to talk to me…and sometimes I’m afraid I won’t like what I hear. Listen (I say this to me, as well!), God wants you—ALL of you. You can’t change what you’ve done in the past, but you can change your future. Don’t let false guilt from all the “shoulda coulda woulda’s” get between you and your Father.
  3. Priorities. I let my priorities get messed up, and instead of giving God the first of my time, he gets the few minutes while I’m lying in bed trying to wake up (but still falling asleep every minute or so), or while I’m falling asleep at night. I don’t give him the BEST of me, which is why I’m too tired to kneel when I come to him. Don’t “serve leftovers to a Holy God” (Francis Chan). That’s why God didn’t accept Cain’s sacrifice. Would you serve leftovers if you had someone famous come to your house? NO! You’d set aside time, and prepare your house and a wonderful meal for them. Do the same (or better) for your God! He deserves your WHOLE heart and devotion.

So what are you still doing on your computer?! No, don’t kick your chair out from under you and kneel while chatting on Facebook. That’s not what I mean. Find somewhere you can be alone, without distractions, and kneel at the feet of your Holy Father who wants so much to wrap you, his child, in a tender embrace.

3 comments:

  1. Where's the like button??

    LaJoie,
    This is very good, and something that I have been thinking about and implementing recently in my own life. I had not yet, however, drawn a few lines, such as how connected the body a spirit are. While I still have difficulties to overcome in my pursuit of this "new" prayersition, know that your ideas have not fallen on hard ears, and that God continues to use your blog.
    May His name be praised!
    ~D.M.

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  2. Thank you for addressing this issue. It is something I've been "playing" with for about a year. I have to add just one thing to your list of reasons one might not pray on one's knees: discomfort. Having started kneeling on my bed rather than on the hardwood floor beside it, I now do that far more regularly. And you're right, my physical position makes a huge difference in my spiritual attitude and thoughts. The feeling of abasing myself before God cannot be described, and it really helps my time with Him.
    Sadly, even while I know that, most often I do not kneel to pray, but merely speak to God as I'm falling asleep in the morning and falling asleep at night. Thank you for the reminder, encouragement, and rebuke to in the right position with God!

    By the way, I just have to praise God for the timing of this post. Soon I will be visiting an unbelieving relative for a fortnight. I had intended to do some serious praying between now and then, and your post has fortified me to do it correctly.
    Thank you, as always, for an honest and sharpening post.

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  3. Excellent and beautifully observed! I had just started doing this and it really does change one's attitude in prayer - God bless!

    ~ Jonathan Martin

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