Monday, March 21, 2011

Kneel or Stand

I get asked all the time: When is it appropriate to stand for prayer? And when is it appropriate to kneel? In typical Anglican fashion, the answer is: it depends. Yet also in typical Anglican fashion, we believe that the posture in which we pray reflects the posture of our heart.

In Psalm 95, which we will read this Sunday, the psalmist prays: “Come, let us bow down, and bend the knee, and kneel before the Lord our Maker (verse 6).” When I pray while kneeling, my heart is bowed, recognizing that God is God and I am not. There is something very humbling about pulling down that kneeler at church and getting on our knees. In Lent, especially, it is appropriate to kneel in prayer, as our hearts are bended in a new direction.

At other times, standing is an appropriate posture for prayer. In Eucharistic Prayer B, as we gather around God’s table, we pray: “In him (Jesus), you have…made us worthy to stand before you.” Because of Jesus’ Resurrection, we have been made daughters and sons of God, worthy to stand around God’s table. In the Easter season, it is especially appropriate to stand before God, as our hearts are lifted up in a posture of resurrection hope.

All that said, I could care less if you stand or kneel or stand on your head to pray. What I do care about is that we pray with our whole being. What I do care about is the posture of our hearts.

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