Do We Have to Kneel When We Pray?
Although I have devoted time with God each day, where I pray on my knees to Him, I also speak with God constantly throughout the day. Am I dishonoring God by being too casual with my posture? Should I always be on my knees when I speak to the Lord to ensure I am honoring Him fully?
This is a great question, because it deals with the subject of prayer itself – and not just with the practice of kneeling in prayer.
To give a quick answer, it is good to kneel in prayer, but normally speaking it is not necessary.
First, the goodness of kneeling in prayer can be seen in the many people in the Bible who are mentioned as kneeling in prayer.
Ezra prayed on his knees (Ezra 9:5), the Psalmist called us to kneel (Psalm 95:6), Daniel prayed on his knees (Daniel 6:10), people came to Jesus kneeling (Matthew 17:14, Matthew 20:20, Mark 1:40), Stephen prayed on his knees (Acts 7:60), Peter prayed on his knees (Acts 9:40), Paul prayed on his knees (Acts 20:36, Ephesians 3:14), and other early Christians prayed on their knees (Acts 21:5). Most importantly, Jesus prayed on His knees (Luke 22:41).
The Bible has enough kneeling prayer to show that it is a good thing to kneel when we pray.
However, the Bible has enough prayer not on the knees to show us that it isn’t required.
When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, Jesus did not say anything about physical posture.
The physical postures of prayer are often more cultural than Biblical or spiritual. In the western world, the main custom in prayer is to fold our hands, close our eyes, and bow our heads. The Jewish custom of prayer was to stand, raise the hands, and often to open the eyes.
Our physical posture in prayer matters, but it matters first and foremost as a practical thing. If you are sleepy, don’t pray laying down. If you are driving a car, don’t pray with your eyes closed.
It’s not that physical posture has no importance; but it is not of the greatest importance.
Kneeling is good. It shows surrender, submission, honor, reverence. If those things are in the heart, it’s good to express them in the body. If those things are not in the heart of the one praying, it doesn’t matter the position of the body. Sometimes the position of the body can help bring the heart into the right place. In and of itself, kneeling in prayer can be a beautiful expression of honor, surrender, and reverence to God – or it can be an empty ritual, or something done to impress others.
The position of your body is important in prayer, but the position of your heart is more important.
- God doesn’t look at the eloquence of your prayers, to see how poetic they are;
- God doesn’t look at the geometry of your prayers, to see how long they are;
- God doesn’t look at the arithmetic of your prayers, to see how many they are;
- God doesn’t look at the music of your prayers, not at the sweetness of your voice, not at the logic of your prayers;
- God looks at the faith and sincerity of your prayers, how hearty they are.
If you feel prayer isn’t prayer if you aren’t kneeling, something is wrong.
If you never pray on your knees, something is wrong.
Does God want me to have physical peace?
Does God want me to have physical peace?
I think that perhaps what you mean by that is peace that can be felt. In other words, does God want me to have a conscious feeling of peace? My answer to that question would be, in the most part, he does.
I think God wants us to operate from a place of peace. If I can take it a step further, not just peace, but what the Bible calls perfect peace.
You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on you. Now, the phrase in the Hebrew, perfect peace, is a repetition of the Hebrew word for peace (shalom). When the Bible repeats a word like that, especially in the Hebrew text, it’s intensifying it.
To have peace is one thing, but to have perfect peace (shalom) is a higher level of peace. God wants us to have this sense of peace in our life, that no matter what’s going on around us, we have perfect peace in Him and not in our circumstances or feelings.
Was John the Baptist actually Elijah from the Old Testament?
Was John the Baptist the prophet Elijah from the Old Testament?
I’ll give you a classical, theological answer to that question. Yes and no to classic, theological evasion.
Let me give you the no part of it. John the Baptist was not Elijah resurrected. He was certainly not Elijah reincarnated, because we don’t believe in reincarnation. He was not Elijah back from heaven. I wouldn’t say back from the dead, because the Bible tells us that Elijah is one of those few individuals who went to heaven without passing through death first.
Here’s the yes part of the answer. John the baptist very much did fulfill the role of Elijah in the way that he dressed, in the way that he ministered, and in the way that he was fearless in his bold proclamation and confrontation of evil. He ministered, what you might call, in the spirit and in the office of Elijah. In that sense, he was.
He was not, literally, Elijah back from heaven, and neither is it right to say that he had no connection with Elijah. He ministered, as Jesus said, in the spirit and in the office of Elijah. He fulfilled Elijah’s role if Elijah would have been on the earth at that time.
Should we wear the armor of God every day?
Do we have to prayerfully wear the whole armor of God daily?
I would certainly say it’s not bad, and the armor of God in Ephesians 6 is given to us as our protection and our equipping for living in a world where spiritual warfare is active all around us. In this passage in Ephesians, Paul talks about the armor of God in many different aspects including, the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the belt of truth, the sandals of the preparation of the gospel of peace, the sword of the Spirit, etc. He lists all these different aspects of spiritual truth that we must have and take with us as the armor of God.
Now, living in the trusting reality of those things, is better than just having some kind of prayer ceremony and say “I take on the breastplate of righteousness or I take on the belt of truth.”, Prayer like that every day is fine, but it has to be real in faith. You actually have to say and believe that you are protected by the righteousness of Jesus Christ, just as a breastplate would cover your chest. When we believe and walk in that, we are truly putting on the armor of God.
We need the armor of God every day. We need the helmet of salvation upon our head, the breastplate of righteousness, and every other aspect of the armor of God that the Apostle Paul mentions in Ephesians.
If the state tells us to stay seated in our church services, should we obey them?
The state, here, ordered us to stay sitting during the services. Should we obey?
Well, Thomas, I would be okay to agree with a statement from the government saying that we should sit during a worship service. Let me explain this.
It’s very important for us to realize that the government is not the Lord, so to speak, over the church. Jesus Christ is Lord over the church. Therefore, we don’t look to the government for permission to meet or to tell us how we should meet and how often we should meet. The government doesn’t have the right to tell us these things.
Having said that, the government does have a role in public health and public safety. If the government tells the people to remain seated throughout the service, I would be willing to accept that for a time.
Now, I would take it as a suggestion. Maybe it would be wise to do that for a few weeks; not because the government says it’s best and commands us, but because the government has informed us of this. I would process it this way: I’ve thought about it. I’ve looked at my Bible and prayed about it. I’m okay with agreeing with the government on this particular point.
Now, the other aspect I think is very important in this is that there is no biblical command that we must observe a certain posture in our worship services. There is not a biblical command that says you must stand, you must kneel, or you must sit. There are examples of standing, sitting and kneeling in worship throughout the scriptures, but there is no command.
In conclusion, I would be ok with this for a period of time. It does not go against scripture and it is for the safety of the public.
When God told Adam and Eve that they would die if they ate the fruit of the tree, how could they know what He really meant by that?
God said to Adam and Eve, “If you eat from the tree you will die.” How could they know what death is? Would they have eaten from it if they did know?
I don’t think there’s any way that Adam and Eve could have known the full effects of what their sin would be. God told them, in some sense, what the effects of their sin would be. God said, In the day that you eat of it, you shall surely die. I don’t think they could have understood, in fullness, what the full effects of their sin would be.
I would suggest this to you. Is that not the case with all of our sin? Every time we sin, it is rare that we would have a complete understanding of what the effects of that sin would be. If we would have known, in fullness, all the trouble it would get us in, we wouldn’t have done it. This is just the nature of temptation. Temptation blinds itself.
Hypothetically speaking, could Adam and Eve have asked God for a greater description?
In other words, I think we should carefully ponder on the full effects of our sin, and ask the Lord to inform us in how to walk in a more obedient way before him.
In 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4, is the “falling away” actually the rapture of the church?
In Second Thessalonians 2:1-4, is Paul talking about the rapture? If so, will the great “falling away” and the Antichrist happen before the rapture?
2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 says,
Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
Jose, this is a question that’s fairly common. There are people who teach that the falling away, mentioned in verse 3, is actually the catching away of the church, mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. I have to say, I do not believe that the falling away, here, is a reference to the Rapture.
Now, how would anybody connect falling away with the catching away of the church? Well, literally, that term falling away in the original language has the sense of a departure. You could say that the catching away of the church, as described in 1 Thessalonians 4, is a departure. It’s true that that word can mean departure, and it could have reference to the catching away of the church, but I don’t think so. That’s not the most plain meaning.
We have to be careful when we’re studying the Bible. Let’s just talk about the New Testament. When we find a word that has a range of meanings, we have to be careful to not just pick the meaning we like or the meaning that fits our argument the best. You have to look carefully at the context and see which meaning best fits the context.
In my mind, the context here suggests that the best way to understand the falling away is of truly an apostasy, a falling away. A falling away of society as a whole or a falling away of those who claim to be Christians from the faith altogether.
Now, your question is, If so, will the great “falling away” and the Antichrist happen before the rapture? I do not believe that the Antichrist will be fully revealed before the church is caught up. I also believe that this great “falling away” will be fulfilled during the last seven year period that the Bible describes for us in some detail.
How should we understand commands such as Ephesians 6:5 saying that slaves should obey their masters? How do we understand or explain slavery in the Bible?
David… your thoughts on Ephesian 6:5… slaves obey your masters… My idea is that God understands fallen man will always engage in slavery, sometimes in different degrees and forms.
I think that there’s a lot of misunderstanding and misinformation regarding slavery and the Bible. I think some of this is accidental. I’m afraid that some of it is deliberate, a deliberate distortion of what the Bible says about slavery and what slavery was in the ancient world.
I’m going to say something, and I think it’s probably pretty heavy. The ancient world was better for having the practice of slavery rather than not having the practice of slavery. I’m saying this about the ancient world. I know that, in the minds of some people, this is an outrageous statement. Let me explain. The main way slaves came into the ancient world was as a prisoner of war, and there were really two choices. When you conquered an army or a city, you, either, killed them or made them a slave. In that situation, when the choice is mass slaughter or slavery, the better choice is slavery.
The second, most common way people became slaves in the ancient world, was due to poverty. If they did not sell themselves, and perhaps their family, into servitude to another person, they would die from starvation. It wasn’t a choice between a nice middle class job at a factory or slavery. The choice was death by starvation, death by war, or slavery. In that context of the ancient world, it was better to have the practice of slavery than to not have it. There would have been more death and destruction in the ancient world without slavery than with it.
Thankfully, we do live in a remarkably different age, and we should recognize that. In terms of civilization and economics, we are in a different situation in the world today. I do not say for a moment, that in a more modern world, it would be better for slavery. We have to consider what the world was like in ancient times, in Bible times.
Therefore, the Bible does not eliminate the practice of slavery in its own day. It regulates it. We also have to realize that the Bible sowed the seeds for the abolition of slavery. Some people think that christianity or the Bible is responsible for slavery. Slavery is a universal among mankind. The question is not, “why is there slavery?” The question is, “why is slavery eliminated in many or most parts of the world?” The answer to that question is Christianity.
I have one more thing to say. I talked about the two main ways slavery was established in the ancient world; Prisoners of war and poverty. In those cases, slavery was better than death.
However, the practice of kidnapping people for slavery, as was the african slave trade built upon, is directly against the Bible. It is given the severest penalty under the Mosaic Law. They call it man stealing, and it is specifically forbidden in the Bible. That kind of slavery is not even conceived as being valid from a biblical perspective. The only kinds of slavery that were in that context came from these situations where it would actually be preferred over death.
What is the best way to explain the gospel?
When I talk to former believers, I notice a lot of people cannot accurately explain the gospel. What is the best way to show them the true gospel?
I think that is true. I think there’s a lot of confusion. We don’t blame people, who don’t yet believe, for not understanding the gospel. I mean, of course they don’t. It is very sad that so many people who do believe don’t really understand it.
So, what is the best way to show them the true gospel? First, you have to understand it yourself. I would say that the essence of the gospel is found in a couple things. First of all, the gospel is not found in anything that we do for God. The gospel is the announcement of what God has done for us in Jesus Christ. Especially in His death, burial, and resurrection, as is described in the first few verses of 1 Corinthians 15.
Therefore, if someone’s christian life or experience is focused on what they have done for God, what they are doing for God, or what they promise to do for God, they don’t understand the gospel.
People confuse the effects of the gospel with the gospel itself. I’ll give you a good example. Racial reconciliation is not the gospel. It is an effect of the gospel. I believe that when the gospel is at work, when God is saving and transforming people, they will love one another and put away racism. Racial reconciliation is something that we do or at least is done in us.
So, I think we need to make a clear distinction in our mind, a difference between what the gospel is and what the gospel does. The gospel is a message. It’s a message of what God has done for us in the person and work of Jesus Christ. The effects of the gospel are what God is doing in and through a saved person; transforming them, sanctifying them.
How can we tell the difference between a false prophet and a true prophet, or a false teacher and a true teacher?
Hello, Pastor David, how do you tell the difference between a false prophet and teacher and a true prophet or teacher?
Well, there’s just one way, and that one way is by the word of God. We take a look at what God has given us in the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. If somebody does not teach according to it, they are not teaching the truth.
Now, what you’re talking about has something to do with how words are understood. I’m going to use an example here. I believe in believers’ baptism. I believe that people who try to teach infant baptism from the scriptures are wrong. I believe that they are teaching incorrectly from the scriptures, but I would not call them false teachers.
Technically speaking, anybody who teaches something false is a false teacher, but that’s not how the term is understood. I would, therefore, reserve the term, false teacher or false prophet for those who are wrong about serious things.
I’ll give an example. If I were to tell you that I think it’s going to rain tomorrow, and it does not rain, I think it would be overboard, for you to consider me for the rest of my days, a false prophet.
There isn’t just the technical understanding of the term, it’s how it’s understood. Therefore, certainly, a false prophet makes predictions that aren’t true. A false teacher teaches things that aren’t true. There has to be a measure of proportion, a measure of understanding in how we use these terms.
If a leader speaks badly of another leader, is that one a false teacher or prophet?
If a leader talks down about another leader, does that mean he’s false?
Well, no, not necessarily. If a leader talks about another leader, and they don’t tell the truth about that leader, they’re being false. It is not false teaching to bring valid analysis and criticism against someone who’s a public teacher. It just has to be done truthfully.
I have to say, as I look out on the world of apologetics on YouTube and other places, there are quite a few apologetics that aren’t fair. They don’t carefully and accurately assess and judge situations. They tend to judge more based on sound bites instead of real research. They tend to judge more on gotcha phrases or words that people use instead of truly digging into what those people say and think. They also tend to ignore evidence to the contrary, which is very important if you’re going to judge somebody fairly. Sometimes people are wrong, sometimes they are right, and sometimes they are contradictory. They say one thing and then say something else that contradicts it, and you can’t act as if the only thing they said is the one thing first. You have to acknowledge that it’s complicated and contradicting.
I’ll give you two good apologists that I find on YouTube, Mike Winger and Alisa Childers.
What is the significance of the Book of Ruth?
What is the significance of the book of Ruth?
The book of Ruth is significant, because it shows us what life was like in the days of the judges. It’s a little vignette from the days of the judges.
The book of Ruth is important, because it shows us how the line of David went from the tribe of Judah down to Jesse, the father of David. It’s important for how it reveals the genealogy of Jesus Christ.
The book of Ruth is important, because it shows us God’s love for and work in people from the nations surrounding Israel. One of the most important things to understand about the book of Ruth, is that the main character in the book, Ruth is a moabitis. She’s not an Israeli by birth. She comes to become devoted to the God of Israel, but by birth she was not, and it shows us God’s love for and plan for the nations.
If I could add one more thing, the book of Ruth is significant, because it is such a beautiful story. It shows us how God works in wonderful ways to protect, provide, and bless his people and those who want to become his people.
How do we explain the Levitical priests in the New Covenant promises of Jeremiah 33:18?
Have you come across the interesting explanations for the Levitical priests in Jeremiah 33:18?
Jeremiah chapter 33:18 says,
nor shall the priests, the Levites, lack a man to offer burnt offerings before Me, to kindle grain offerings, and to sacrifice continually.
This comes at the end of new covenant promises. I’m going to suppose that this has reference to what I would call the completion of the new covenant. I’m big on covenant theology. I’m just not big on the reformed version of covenant theology. I believe that the covenants of God have a very important role in understanding His unfolding plan of the ages. Just as the reformed would teach in their understanding of covenant theology, I do not believe in an unnamed overarching covenant of works and covenant of grace. What I do believe is that God has done a remarkable work in and through the new covenant.
What many people don’t understand about the new covenant, is the restoration of Israel, including their restoration to the land and their ultimate coming to faith under the Messiah. I believe that this is part of the new covenant in totality, though I definitely believe that the new covenant is inaugurated. Jesus said it was at the Last Supper. He spoke with his disciples and said that this was the new covenant, His blood, meaning that at his death the new covenant would be instituted. Certainly, the New Covenant is instituted, it is enacted.
I would say that it is not yet complete, because all the promises God has made, especially the promises relevant to Israel, are not yet fulfilled. They will be, and part of that fulfillment will extend all the way to the millennial kingdom of Jesus Christ when he rules in an active, literal way over the entire earth.
Of course, there is, right now, a present spiritual rule of Jesus over the earth in and through His church. When I read the promises of the reign of the Messiah over the earth, I don’t think it ends with what we have now. I think there’s more, and the institution of that standing, physical, material, literal reign of Jesus Christ over this earth is yet to come. In that there will be a role for priests. There will be, as I believe, a coming back to this idea of the priesthood, but not a priesthood for the sake of being a mediator between God and man or for the sake of offering atoning sacrifices. Those things are completely fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
What was the purpose of the Levite cutting up the dead concubine and sending the parts of her body around Israel as recorded in Judges 19?
In Judges 19, what was the purpose of the Levite cutting up his concubine into 12 parts and sending to all parts of Israel?
Well, the parts were sent all over Israel to show the depths of depravity that the nation had sunk to.
What is the purpose of that?
Well, the purpose of the Levite was to make public the terrible deed that had been done. He took a terrible deed, the rape and murder of a concubine, and made it even more terrible by dismembering her body and sending it to the different parts of the land. His purpose was to outrage the nation over this terrible deed and make it as public as possible.
God’s purpose in telling us this story is to show us how genuinely terrible it was during the days of the judges. This was indeed a terrible time for the nation of Israel. It was a depraved, awful time. It was a time when, as the book of Judges tells us, every man did what was right in his own eyes, and it resulted in terrible things for the nation of Israel.