Nehemiah 8:6 Then Ezra blessed the Lord the great God. And all the people answered, “Amen, Amen!” while lifting up their hands; then they bowed low and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.
Matthew 2:11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Romans 14:11 For it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall give praise to God.”
Is it fair to say that we don’t bow down much these days as a culture, as a church or as individuals? I can’t help but wonder why? Today, I decided to bow down during my morning prayers and pay attention to what happened to my thoughts and feelings as I talked with God on my knees, with my head down. Bowing seems to invite surrender and reverence. It did…I could feel it! But, praying with my face on the floor also made me feel tearfully contrite and humble of heart. It felt corrective.
I suspect there is something about putting ones body in a bowed position that helps us to feel bowed, submitted, and more in touch with the reality of our finitude and our great need of an infinite and able God.
When I think of the things that literally drive us to our knees, four invitations come to mind: great need, sin, gratitude and God’s felt presence. When loss, illness, or trouble comes our way and we are overwhelmed, we often feel pushed to our knees in desperation. When we have violated our nature, created in God’s image, by behaviors that bring us shame, we may feel the need to lay prostrate in sorrow as we cry out to God for help and freedom. When the sun rises, or we slow down enough to notice beauty around us, when we receive our hearts’ desires or experience God’s provision, we may fall on our faces in gratitude. When God draws near and we feel His breath…when somehow we touch the Almighty or His goodness and love touches us, we may find ourselves waking up from having fallen face first in utter worship!
What’s the point? We need to bow! It helps us pray more completely. We were created for a yielded relationship with a wise and powerful God. It is no joking matter. It necessitates that we regularly lower our heads and accommodate prayerful face plants that can deal a blow to our pride at its roots. A blow that can lead our hearts to proper sorrow, and connect us to our brokenness. We need to fall to the ground in gratitude for the daily gifts of life that we take for granted most days.
Bowing down before God helps us to find our true selves and, astonishingly, the God who bowed down to save us!
Yes, there is a God who washed feet, prayed in a garden on His knees, and bowed under the weight of the cross He carried to Calvary. He hears our prays and cares about our sorrows, temptations and triumphs! In full surrender, Jesus lived, loved and died bowed down before God that we might one day be lifted up!
“Father, help me to bow down. I am aware of my pride and how it interferes with my ability to surrender my heart and life to You. As I bow in the mornings, I ask for correction, grace, and your hand of love to lift me up. Thank you for bowing down low to save me and for caring about my life and loving me every single moment of every single day. Amen.”
How about you?
What prompts you to bow down?
Are you aware of obstacles that keep you from bowing down before God?
How might bowing in prayer change the way you pray, think or act?
Bow and pray. Try it! Put your body in a bowed posture and notice what happens to your thoughts, feelings and prayer. God bless you as you bow before Him.
“When I Don’t Know What To Do” by Tommy Walker
“Surrender” by 4 Him
“I Need You Now” by Matt Redman