The Sunday Sample: Episode 87. “Posture in Corporate Worship”, Part 5 – Kneeling.

Video can be found here.

What is the usefulness and relevance of movement and posture in corporate worship? This is the Fifth in a series on this topic inspired by a chapter in “Participating in Worship” by Craig Douglas Erickson.

Today we look at the issue of kneeling. 

What is the value of collective kneeling in corporate worship? First of all let’s have a look at Scripture:

  1. Solomon’s prayer of dedication for the temple (1 Kings 8:54)
  2. Adoration and praise (Psalm 94:6).
  3. Christ in Gethsemane (Luke 22:41).
  4. Stephen’s prayer for his persecutors (Acts 7:60).
  5. Peter praying for Tabitha (Acts 9:40).
  6. Prayers of departure and blessing (Acts 20:36; 21:5).
  7. Paul in prayer (Ephesians 3:14).

We tend to associate kneeling with an especially powerful awareness of our sinfulness before God. However, this is not particularly biblical. It’s something that came into the church consciousness later. This in many church traditions kneeling is reserved for penitential prayer or acts such as receiving communion. Does this mean that, in our tradition where this is not so common, we should not utilise kneeling in our corporate settings?

We can pray whilst standing, and pray whilst seated. But isn’t there something different about praying whilst kneeling?

What might it be like if we listened to Scripture read while we knelt on the ground? How might our experience change if we sang whilst kneeling? Click To Tweet

As close this episode by considering what Paul tells us about kneeling:

“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9–11 NIV11)

There is no suggestion in the context that such kneeling is negative, but  an appropriate response to our wonderful saviour. If this will be the case on that day, perhaps we should get in training today.

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community. 

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

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“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm

PS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John