'Today's Little Lift' with Jim Bullington
Originally posted on 09/15/2020
“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…” (Ephesians 3.14).
The point of this devotional message is not to look at the things for which Paul prayed on this occasion. Rather, it is to look at the phrase “I bow my knees…” and some of the implications of this phrase. The point of the phrase is not to depict a sanctified position of prayer, but rather to indicate the sanctified attitude of prayer displayed by Paul. This does not deny that Paul literally bowed his knees in prayer, for that seems to be the case – at least in this instance.
Others also bowed their knees in prayer; they also prayed prostrate on the ground, standing and looking into heaven and also in ways or positions that are not disclosed. Notice some of the cases where those who communed with God in prayer did so while in a kneeling of bowed position. “When He [Jesus] came to the place [the Garden of Gethsemane], He said to them [the inner three apostles], ‘Pray that you may not enter into temptation.’ And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed…” (Luke 22.40-41). “And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not charge them with this sin.’ And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” (Acts 7.59-60). “And when he [Paul] had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all [the elders for the church at Ephesus].” (Acts 20.36). “When we [Luke and those who accompanied Paul] had come to the end of those days, we departed and went on our way; and they [believers in Tyre] all accompanied us, with wives and children, till we were out of the city. And we knelt down on the shore and prayed.” (Acts 21.5).
These occasions of prayer are not the only one in the scriptures, nor do they depict a particular approved example of prayer posture. However, one cannot help but be smitten by the apparent reverence that the early believers had for God and for His position relative to theirs. When one bows the knee, it is a universal sign of respect and submission; such certainly reflected the attitude of Paul, Jesus, Stephen, Luke, and others in the Bible. They knew nothing of the over familiarity that is in vogue in many places today. They used posture as well as language to reflect their awe and reverence for God; there is not a hint of speaking to Him as if He were just another man or an old buddy! While they certainly had the right to come to Him with any legitimate request, they never did so in a flippant or irreverent manner so far as any biblical record goes; their attitude was one which forced them to bow their knees or demonstrate in other ways the overwhelming respect they had for the Father.
We would do well today to imitate their actions – not so much their position but certainly their attitudes. It has not been all that many years since it was commonplace for men to pray in public assemblies and do so on their knees! The position is not the mandate, but the attitude is! God is my friend but hardly would I call Him my buddy! Reverence, respect, and yes even godly fear is demanded when we come into the throne room of Creator God!
1. From today’s message list several people who prayed in a kneeling position?
2. If the position is not the lesson, what is? What does kneeling signify?
3. Why do you think it is no longer in vogue to see people spontaneously pray from a kneeling position?
4. If the position is not the mandate, what is?