Kneeling or Standing in Prayer?

by Ellen White

As the Son of God bowed in the attitude of prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, the agony of His spirit forced from His pores sweat like great drops of blood. It was here that the horror of great darkness surrounded Him.  2T 203.
Both in public and in private worship, it is our privilege to bow on our knees before the Lord when we offer our petitions to Him. Jesus, our example, "kneeled down, and prayed."[LUKE 22:41.] Of His disciples it is recorded that they, too, "kneeled down, and prayed."[ACTS 9:40; 20:36, 21:5.] Paul declared, "I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."[EPH. 3:14.] In confessing before God the sins of Israel, Ezra knelt.[SEE EZRA 9:5.] Daniel "kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God."[DAN. 6:10.]  GW 178.
The prayer offered by Solomon during the dedication of the temple, was not made while he stood upon his feet. The king knelt in the humble position of a petitioner.  RH 11/30/1905
"For Solomon had made a brazen scaffold, of five cubits long, and five  cubits broad, and three cubits high, and had set it in the midst of the  court: and upon it he stood, and kneeled down upon his knees before all the  congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven." 2 Chron.  6:1-13.
Herein is a lesson for God's people to-day. Our spiritual strength and our influence are not increased by conformity to a worldly attitude during prayer. In these perilous times, those who profess to be God's commandment-keeping people should guard against the tendency to lose the spirit of reverence and godly fear.  RH 11/30/98
The Scriptures teach men how to approach their Maker,--with humility and awe, through faith in a divine Mediator. Let man come on bended knee, as a subject of grace, a suppliant at the foot-stool of mercy. Thus he is to testify that the whole soul, body, and spirit are in subjection to his Creator.  RH 11/30/1905
I have received letters questioning me in regard to the proper attitude  to be taken by a person offering prayer to the Sovereign of the universe.  Where have our brethren obtained the idea that they should stand upon their  feet when praying to God? One who has been educated for about five years in  Battle Creek was asked to lead in prayer before Sister White should speak to  the people. But as I beheld him standing upright upon his feet while his lips  were about to open in prayer to God, my soul was stirred within me to give  him an open rebuke. Calling him by name, I said, "Get down upon your knees."  This is the proper position always.  NBL 119
"And He was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down,  and prayed." Luke 22:41.
"Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him  to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw  Peter, she sat up." Acts 9:40.
"They stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive  my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not  this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep." Acts  7:59, 60.
"When he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all."  Acts 20:36.
"When we had accomplished those days, we departed and went our way; and  they all brought us on our way, with wives and children, till we were out of  the city: and we kneeled down on the shore, and prayed." Acts 21:5.
"At the evening sacrifice I arose up from my heaviness; and having rent  my garment and my mantle, I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto  the Lord my God, and said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my  face to Thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our  trespass is grown up unto the heavens." Ezra 9:5, 6.
"O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our  maker." Ps. 95:6.
"For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus  Christ." Eph. 3:14.
To bow down when in prayer to God is the proper attitude to occupy. This  act of worship was required of the three Hebrew captives in Babylon. . . .  But such an act was homage to be rendered to God alone--the Sovereign of the  world, the Ruler of the universe; and these three Hebrews refused to give  such honor to any idol, even though composed of pure gold. In doing so, they  would, to all intents and purposes, be bowing to the king of Babylon.  Refusing to do as the king had commanded, they suffered the penalty, and were  cast into the burning fiery furnace. But Christ came in person and walked  with them through the fire, and they received no harm.
Both in public and private worship it is our duty to bow down upon our  knees before God when we offer our petitions to Him. This act shows our  dependence upon God.  NBL 119.
I present these proof texts with the inquiry, "Where did Brother -----  obtain his education?"--At Battle Creek. Is it possible that with all the  light that God has given to His people on the subject of reverence, that  ministers, principals, and teachers in our schools, by precept and example  teach young men to stand erect in devotion as did the Pharisees? Shall we  look upon this as significant of their self-sufficiency and self-importance?  Are these traits to become conspicuous?
"And He spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that  they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to  pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and  prayed thus with himself, God, I thank Thee, that I am not as other men are,  extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in  the week, I give tithes of all that I possess." Mark you it was the  self-righteous Pharisee who was not in a position of humility and reverence  before God; but standing in his haughty self-sufficiency, he told the Lord  all his good deeds. "The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself"; and  his prayer reached no higher than himself.
"And the publican, standing afar  off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his  breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went  down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that  exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be  exalted."
We hope that our brethren will not manifest less reverence and awe as  they approach the only true and living God than the heathen manifest for  their idol deities, or these people will be our judges in the day of final  decision. I would speak to all who occupy the place of teachers in our  schools. Men and women, do not dishonour God by your irreverence and  pomposity. Do not stand up in your Phariseeism and offer your prayers to God.  Mistrust your own strength. Depend not in it; but often bow down on your  knees before God, and worship Him.  NBL 120.
We are living in perilous times. Seventh-day Adventists are professedly  the commandment-keeping people of God; but they are losing their devotional  spirit. This spirit of reverence for God teaches men how to approach their  Maker--with sacredness and awe through faith, not in themselves, but in a  Mediator. Thus man is kept fast, under whatever circumstances he is placed.  Man must come on bended knee, as a subject of grace, a suppliant at the  footstool of mercy. And as he receives daily mercies at the hand of God, he  is ever to cherish gratitude in his heart, and give expression to it in the  words of thanksgiving and praise for these unmerited favours. Angels have been  guarding his pathway through all his life, and many of the snares he has been  delivered from he has not seen. And for this  guardianship and watchcare by eyes that never slumber and never sleep, he is to recognise in every prayer the service of God for him. NBL 121.