I’m wondering how often we Christians today prostrate before God in prayer and worship. For a time we went to a church with kneelers in the pews, but we didn’t use them regularly, and prostrating is even more extreme.
I was reading Nehemiah 8:1-8 today, and it struck me how much of their worship was acted out physically. On this occasion when the construction of the walls of Jerusalem had been completed and the people assembled, Ezra the priest read the Law to them. And their responses involved a lot of body language, which can reveal what’s actually going on in the mind and heart.
“The ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law” (Neh. 8:3c).
“Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people” and “as he opened it all the people stood” (Neh. 8:5).
“And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God, and all the people answered, ‘Amen, Amen,’ lifting up their hands. And the bowed their heads and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground” (Neh. 8:6).
It’s common to raise our hands and bow our heads in today in a worship service, but how often do our ears attentively listen to the Bible itself being read—and standing for hours on end, as this must have taken? How often is the Word raised up physically for all to see? Do we (not just people around us but you and me) ever respond verbally? When do we worship together with our faces to the ground?
I’m quite humbled and convicted by what my body language says about my worship, even when I’m alone. I intend to deliberately incorporate more postures that remind me that I’m not talking to or acknowledging a human, but I’m in the presence of the Almighty.
My guess is that my worship will be greater and deeper by using my physical being as a picture of my awe at the greatness and majesty of God.