Self-Care: Kneel to Pray

One of 30 Ways to Practice Self Care, is to kneel when you pray. Before you get in bed tonight, try kneeling by your bedside, and offer your life to God, thanking the Lord for another day.

On one of the numerous retreats I made to the Gethsemane Trappist Abbey in Kentucky, I took time to visit the statues created by sculptor Walter Hancock, depicting scenes from the Garden of Gethsemane from the Gospels, in which Jesus is praying on his knees.

Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, photo from post by Noah Schumacher.

This simple act of kneeling to pray is found throughout the Bible as one of the main postures people of faith in God offer when they pray.

Here’s a survey of kneeling prayer giants in the Bible.

Solomon in 1 Kings 8:54

When Solomon finished making these prayers and petitions to the Lord, he stood up in front of the altar of the Lord, where he had been kneeling with his hands raised toward heaven.

King Solomon leads the entire nation in prayer by humbling himself, kneeling, raising his hands toward heaven.

Solomon in 2 Chronicles 6:13-15

Solomon stood on the platform and then knelt down before the whole assembly of Israel and spread out his hands toward heaven. He prayed: “Lord, the God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven or on earth—you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way. You have kept your promise to your servant David my father; with your mouth you have promised and with your hand you have fulfilled it—as it is today.”

Again, King Solomon leads the entire nation in prayer by kneeling down in prayer, and by spreading out his hands toward heaven.

All the people in 2 Chronicles 7:3

When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the Lord above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave thanks to the Lord, saying, “He is good; his love endures forever.”

When the people experienced the glory of the Lord coming down upon the temple, all of Israel knelt on the pavement together with their faces to the ground, and prayed and worshiped and gave thanks to the Lord.

The King and Everyone Present in 2 Chronicles 29:29

When the offerings were finished, the king and everyone present with him knelt down and worshiped.

Once again, we witness everyone present kneeling down to pray and worship, from the king to the common person in the crowd.

Psalmist in Psalm 95:6

Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.

The Psalmist invites us to bow our lives by bending our knees before the Lord in prayer and praise.

Ezra in Ezra 9:5

Then, at the evening sacrifice, I rose from my self-abasement, with my tunic and cloak torn, and fell on my knees with my hands spread out to the Lord my God.

In the evening, Ezra fell on his knees, spreading out his hands to the Lord in prayer.

Every Knee in Isaiah 45:22-24

“Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear. They will say of me, ‘In the Lord alone are deliverance and strength.’”

Through the prophet Isaiah, God declares that “every knee will bow.” In this vision every person on earth will ultimately bow their knees before the Lord, a vision that is affirmed by Paul in his letters to the Romans and Philippians (see below).

Daniel in Daniel 6:10

Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help.

Daniel faithfully prayed on his knees, giving thanks to God. In doing so, he violated the king’s decree, and was thrown into the lion’s den as punishment. Kneeling prayer is risky business!

A Canaanite Woman on behalf of her daughter in Matthew 15:25

The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.

A foreign woman come before Jesus, kneels before him and cries out in prayer for help. Jesus honors this woman and heals her daughter.

A Mother in Matthew 20:20

Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of Jesus.

The mother of James and John kneels before Jesus, asking him for a favor, which he does not fulfill, though he truly listens to this dear woman.

A Leper in Mark 1:40

A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”

A leper comes to Jesus, kneels down and begs Jesus to make him clean. Jesus heals this man.

Peter in Luke 5:8-10

When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.”

Simon Peter knelt before Jesus, humbled by the miracle of a huge catch of fish. Jesus commissions him to fish for people.

Jesus in Luke 22:40-42

On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”

Jesus knelt in prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, with the great prayer of submission, “Not my will, but yours be done.”

Stephen in Acts 7:60

Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.

Stephen fell on his knees to pray as he was being stoned to death.

Peter in Acts 9:40

Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up.

Peter knelt to pray at a bedside of a woman who had died. God brought this woman back to life.

Paul before Elders of Ephesus in Acts 20:36

When Paul had finished speaking, he knelt down with all of them and prayed.

Paul knelt down to pray with faith leaders from Ephesus.

Paul with the Believers of Tyre, Syria in Acts 21:5

When it was time to leave, we left and continued on our way. All of them, including wives and children, accompanied us out of the city, and there on the beach we knelt to pray.

Paul also knelt down to pray with believers from Tyre, including men, women, and children.

Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:14-21

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Paul often writes prayers in his letters to churches. In his letter to the Church in Ephesus, he writes that he kneels before the Father as he prays.

Paul in Romans 14:11

It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’”

In fulfillment of Isaiah 45, Paul writes that every knee will bow before the Lord.

Paul in Philippians 2:9-11

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.

Finally, in Philippians 2, Paul declares that every knee, in heaven, on earth, and under the earth, every knee should bow, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord. This to to glory of God the Father!