For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
(Ephesians 3:14-16 ESV)
As Paul begins to pray for the Ephesians he bows [his] knees. Kneeling is a position of humility. Paul was humbled by the truth about God which he has explained in this letter.
When we understand who we are – spiritually dead sinners whose motives and actions are purely selfish – and who God is – a forgiving Father who, despite our sinful state, unilaterally reached out to offer us eternal life we did not deserve [Ephesians 1:7 et. al] – the only appropriate response is humility. Furthermore, we cannot truly approach God in prayer without some sense of humility.
Prayer is admission that we are helpless while God is omnipotent. We bring our requests and needs to God in acknowledgment of both our weakness and His strength. Anyone who isn’t admissive of his/her weakness and God’s strength will see no reason to pray.
When we look around our world we see arrogance everywhere. In our government leaders. In our educators. In our entertainers and athletes. These people know nothing about God. If they understood the truth about who they really are and who God really is they would humble themselves as Paul does here.
This is why our world is a mess. And as people continue to promote self and eliminate God from culture, things will only get worse. Not to mention that all this fulfills biblical prophecy that in the end times (which began the day Israel re-emerged as a nation) people will be lovers of themselves and will hate God [2 Timothy 3:1-4].
Notice also that Paul directs his prayer to God. He does not pray to Mary or to any man-made saints as the Catholic church advises. He prays to God the Father. Only God has the answers we need. Only God has the power to affect our lives.
Nor does Paul instruct the Ephesians to find truth within themselves a la Oprah or the Dalai Lama. The most dangerous thought a person could have is to believe that goodness can be found within ourselves. There is nothing good within the human heart [Matthew 15:19].
THe human race is good at creating problems. We aren’t very good at solving them. In fact, most of our solutions only create more problems. This is because our motives are all wrong. Our hearts are not in the right place. We are inherently selfish, which is the opposite of humility.
There are many examples of people kneeling while praying in the Bible including 1 Kings 8:54, Psalm 95:6, and Acts 9:40. Even Jesus kneeled to pray [Luke 22:41]. But there are also examples of people praying in other positions including standing, prostrate, and sitting.
It is not the position of our body that matters – God is not into rituals [Hosea 6:6 et. al]. It is the position of our heart that matters.
Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.