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Postures of Humility

 When we read the Bible, it’s clear that bowing our knee and kneeling before God in a posture of humility is important to God and it’s important to us in our expression of awe, wonder, love and respect for the One who created the universe and sent His son to die for our salvation.

In this post I’d like to highlight eight postures of humility—times when we need to humbly approach God on bended knee.

In our worshippingPsalm 95:6,7 and Matthew 2:11 clearly show us that bowing and kneeling in our worship is acceptable because He is LORD, Maker and Shepherd and we’re sheep. We need the right perspective (position and posture) when we worship Him. Several times in Revelation we can read, “They fell down before Him.” The Elders worshipped Him from their knees.

In our leading2 Chronicles 6:12,13 helps us remember the importance of kneeling before God, and the people, before we ever think of leading anything. “Nineteenth-century lecturer James F. Murdock recalled a time when he stayed in the White House for three weeks in the summer of 1861 as a guest of President Lincoln. One night, Mr. Murdock was tossing and turning, suffering from insomnia, when he heard a low voice from down the hall. He got up to investigate and found himself at the door of a private room. The door was ajar, and Murdock could see the president kneeling before an open window [in prayer].”[i] Like many biblical leaders (Moses and Nehemiah to name just two) Lincoln prayed for wisdom in leading the people from his knees.

In our praying—We only need to read Daniel 6:19 and Ephesians 3:14–19 to find men (Daniel and Paul) who prayed from their knees. It wasn’t simply a custom for these men; it was a priority. Dr. Charles F. Stanley wrote, “The position of prayer if very important. How many times does the Bible record the prayers of men and women who ‘bowed down’ before Him? Praying on our knees is a signal that we truly honor and love Him, and that we view Him as Lord of our lives.”[ii]

In our begging—We don’t like to use this word. We’re not humble enough to admit, or in some cases, ever let ourselves beg God. That’s too bad. We see a man in Mark 5: 22, 23 who is begging Jesus. His name is Jairus and he falls at Jesus’ feet begging him to heal his daughter. Jairus was a synagogue ruler, yet he didn’t hesitate to kneel and beg Jesus for his little girl. We should never hesitate to kneel before Jesus.

In our confessing—Just a few verses later in Mark 5:32–34 we find Jesus responding to humility with grace. Just as he responded with grace to the apostle John’s humility in Revelation 1:17, he responds to the woman who openly confesses to Him the same way. She has faith and her faith leads her to a posture of humility in her confession.

In our suffering—In our darkest hours we can be lifted and brightened by falling on our knees before the throne of God. In Luke 22:41 we see Jesus going into the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. He knows the suffering that’s coming and he drops to His knees in prayer to His Father.

In our forgiving—In Acts 7:59, 60, Stephen made a conscious decision to kneel when asking God to forgive his murderers. He had humility of heart and humility of posture. What an incredible gesture! Kneeling, when we give or ask for forgiveness, is a tangible reminder of our own kneeling when we ask to be forgiven ourselves.

In our “miracle-ing”—Kneeling, when asking for miracles, keeps us humble and reminds us who really does the miracles when they do happen. One of the most powerful expressions of this is found in the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11–31). It’s visually portrayed in Rembrandt’s famous painting of the Prodigal Son. Scripture and the painting vividly show the Father going forth, embracing his son, placing his hands lovingly and gently on the kneeling and repentant young man.

Eight posture of humility rewarded by God’s presence, grace, compassion and affection.

Friends, as we go through life I can’t think of a single event where practicing and posturing ourselves with humility and with a bowed heart, a bent knee, or a prostrated body isn’t the right attitude to have and the right action to perform.

[i] Pat Williams, with Jim Denny, The Leadership Wisdom of Solomon: 28 Essential Strategies for Leading with Integrity, (Cincinnati, OH, Standard Publishing, 2010), 22

[ii] Charles F. Stanley, When Your Children Hurt, (Nashville, Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2008), 137

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