I couldn’t recall the last time I bowed down to pray. It became normal for me to pray to God on the way to work or in my bed right before I slept. Sometimes my prayers were randomly submitted to God throughout the day. There is nothing wrong with this prayer format. Sincere prayers from God’s children are in order regardless of your body’s position. Yet, it occurred to me the last time I bowed down on my knees in prayer was because I really, really needed God to help me. I wanted to show Him that I reverenced His sovereignty. I desired to physically show God my humble submission. I needed to give Him the maximum level of respect. Thus, I fell down on my knees with my head bowed in humble submission in an effort to show God due respect.
I read Job 1 last week. Many of us are familiar with the story but here’s a brief summary. Job was esteemed as perfect and upright. He was one who feared God and avoided evil (Job 1:1). He had a wife, seven sons, three daughters, and massive wealth. He was considered the greatest man in the east in terms of his standing with God and his possessions. Satan (on his job as usual) wanted to persuade Job away from God. God gave Satan permission to touch all that Job had with the exception of touching Job himself. In one day, Job lost all of his children and all of his possessions. Yet, Job 1:20–22 reads as follows:
Job 1:20–22 King James Version (KJV) Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.
Job worshipped God after he lost everything valuable in his life with the exception of his health and wife. He chose to worship despite his circumstance. He respected God so much that he refused to question God’s will or charge God foolishly. Now as the story continues, Job does eventually question God but he is reminded by God that God is supreme in His being. Job quickly repents and in the end, God blessed Job with more than he began with.
Yet, Job’s initial respect for God stuck a cord within me. Job fell down to the ground and worshipped after he lost everything. The audacity of me to not fall down in worship God when I have everything! I have a beautiful husband and daughter, a living mother and father, and a loving extended family and in-laws. I have a steady income and decent home. I have food, shelter, clothes, and transportation. I have love and peace. I have NEVER went without life’s necessities. I have consistently enjoyed many of life’s luxuries. There’ s only a handful of things that I don’t have. Essentially, I have everything…but I couldn’t remember the last time I bowed down to God.
I admit my failure to see that God is worthy of knee-bowing prayer at all times — not just when things are tough. God deserves the ultimate respect whether life is good, mediocre, or terrible. Giving God a half-hearted salutation when things are going good but bowing down in maximum respect when things are bad is hypocritical and disrespectful. I am not saying that we must bow down every time we pray. In fact, as far as I know, there is no biblical reference that requires you to bow down in prayer. You could very well bow in prayer but if your heart isn’t sincere, the bowing would mean nothing.
However, I am stating we should reverence God in the good times just as we would during the bad times. I am saying that at some point in the day, we should make an effort to illustrate to God how much we respect Him — and in most cases when we really need a breakthrough from God, we bow down in humble submission. But the truth is, we always need God. Thus, He is always worthy of knee-bowing worship.
Additionally, we should be mindful of how we talk to God. Sometimes we may get a little too comfortable in how we communicate with God because prayer makes Him so accessible. He is always present and willing to listen to our prayers. He’s likened to the greatest friend one could have. Plus, we are instructed to boldly come before Him and make prayer request.
Hebrews 4:16 King James Version (KJV) Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need
However, being bold does not give us permission to come to God in any manner we deem appropriate. He is way more than your best friend whom you can speak to any kind of way. Please keep in mind who you are talking to when you pray to God.
Ecclesiastes 5:2 King James Version (KJV) Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.
We can be bold but respectful. Just as many of our parents told us as children with a stern voice and a tougher glare, we need to watch our tone. It is common knowledge to be respectful to your parents. We even respect strangers by shaking hands or greeting each other with a smile. Isn’t it only fair to greet God according to His worth? When the President of the United States enters a room, people stand to their feet in honor of his status. Are we to stand for man but not bow to God?
Yes, God knows our hearts whether we bow or not… but wouldn’t it be nice to physically show God how much you reverence Him sometimes? It’s just one more way that we can demonstrate our respect towards Him. Keep in mind every knee shall bow to God per Philippians 2.
Philippians 2:10–11 King James Version (KJV) That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Indeed, every knee will bow in the end. But you don’t have to wait until the end to bow. You can do it now while you have the opportunity. When you dwell on who God is… I mean really sit there and think of His majesty, His knowledge, His mercy, and His forgiveness…you can’t help but to bow out of sheer awe of who He is. It’s an honor to even have permission to come to His throne. The least we could do is come to His throne as humble as we can.
Again, I want to make it clear that bowing is not required. But it is a humble way of showing God His due respect. I pray that whether you opt to bow or not, you will deem God as worthy of the utmost respect. May you respect God, not just for what He has done for you but for who He is. May you respect God not just in an attempt to receive a blessing. Truth is, having open access to the creator of all things is a blessing by itself. Please don’t take access to our creator lightly and please don’t take it for granted. Miguel Angel Ruiz stated “Respect is one of the greatest expressions of love.” I totally agree. So please, show God some love by showing Him some respect. May you respect God and may He bless you!