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Good, Good Posture

Most often, when we think of worship, we think of singing, praising, and maybe praying. While each of those are essential aspects of worship, many of us leave out a vital part of our interaction with God in our time of worship. We forget to consider the physical act of worshiping. Yes, I am talking about our posture – raised hands, kneeling, bowing, and even dancing before our Father in worship!  This can be intimidating for many of us. For some there may be embarrassment, performance anxiety, or feeling like that is for other people only. Let me assure you, God desires freedom in our worship to Him, and He delights in our movement!

Mirror the Posture of Your Heart

Let’s take a moment to delve together into the Biblical physical aspects of worship. For many, lifting hands while worshiping or getting on their knees before the Lord feels, well, uncomfortable. Whether it’s a fear of being a distraction to others, a fear of being ridiculed, or feeling awkward even when alone. I have so many folks who either say that they just haven’t gotten there yet or they don’t intend to. Once, I had a congregation member come to me and say that the way she sees me outwardly worship is the way she feels on the inside, but she finds herself unable to allow herself to do it.

The truth is, we see examples all throughout the Bible revealing the significance of our posture in worship. Whether it be while we are singing songs in a church building or praying by ourselves in our home, God desires us to experience freedom in our worship to Him.  Let’s take a look at 4 Biblical Practices of Posture in Worship that Mirror the Posture of Your Heart:

1 ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­- Raised Hands

The Hebrew word yadah is a verb with the root meaning, “the extended hand, therefore to worship with extended hand, to lift the hands.” Similarly, towdah means an extension of the hand in adoration, avowal, or acceptance. Take a look at Psalm 141:2. We see several examples of raising our hands in praise in the Psalms, but in this particular passage, the Psalmist says, “Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.” Charles Spurgeon says, “Prayer is sometimes presented without words by the very motions of our bodies: bent knees and lifted hands are the tokens of earnest, expectant prayer.” For me, it is a posture of complete surrender and a willingness to receive whatever the Lord has for me. You’ll find more examples of raised hands of praise in 1 Kings, Ezra, 1 Timothy, and Nehemiah.

2 – Kneeling

In fact, let’s head over to Nehemiah 8:6. This passage says, “Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God, and with their hands uplifted all the people said, “Amen! Amen!” Then they knelt low and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.” They changed their posture before the Lord. If we look forward to Revelation 5:14, it says, “And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.” In Hebrew, barak means to kneel down, to bless God as an act of adoration, to salute. There is no lower posture you can take before the Lord than to kneel with your face to the ground. Some of the most powerful moments I have experienced with the Lord were when He has met me as I was prostrate before him. Let me tell you, it takes some work to humble yourself, and it is not always fun, but for me, my posture is invariably a good way to start. It’s a great reminder to myself of how big my God is. You’ll see more examples of people falling on their faces in worship in Genesis, Ezekiel, and Revelation.

3 – Bowing

What is another posture of worship that we find in the Bible? How about bowing? No, bowing is not reserved for royalty and dignitaries. Let’s read Philippians 2:9-11. Paul says, “For this reason, God highly exalted Him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow—in Heaven and on earth and under the earth—and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Every knee will bow. We bow in reverence to the Lord. You will see examples all throughout the Bible of people bowing in reverence to the Lord.

4 – Dancing

The last posture that I want to share with you, and maybe one of the most controversial for some, is dancing in worship. Psalm 149:3 is a great example. It reads, “Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre.” Then, just one chapter over in Psalm 150 verse 4, we read about praising the Lord with tambourine and dance; with strings and pipe. We love to dance in our family, so this one comes naturally to us. Dancing in worship should not be from a heart of desiring attention or an intent to distract, but from an overflow of joy! You will notice, as I am leading worship from the platform, I literally can’t stand still. The joy of the Lord overcomes me in every way, and I worship with my whole being.

God is Worthy of Your Worship

There may be lots of different reasons why changing postures is uncomfortable for you. Maybe it has to do with the church you grew up in and what was taught to be appropriate based on someone’s personal opinion or preference. Maybe you don’t feel freedom within yourself to be able to worship with that kind of abandon. I want to challenge you this week to pray about that. Ask the Lord to break any chains that you have regarding your posture in worship towards Him. Pray that your physical posture in worship would reflect the posture of your heart. Seek His word and see for yourself. Maybe it seems overwhelming to implement all of these Biblical postures of worship, but I want to challenge you to try just one more than you do now. If anyone thinks you’re a weirdo, they’re not why you’re doing it anyway. God is, and He is worthy of worship with your whole being.


Sarah Thiele
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