This month I’ve been working through a personal prayer challenge. I say “work” because it’s, well, been work, but not in the sense you may be thinking. Actually, to be quite honest, it’s really brought me to my knees…
A friend of mine challenged me to commit to a month of prayer on my knees. And so this past month, and you may laugh at this (just please don’t judge), it’s been exactly that: quite the challenge!
You may be able to relate to my experience so far
I had made the decision to undertake this challenge a few weeks before the beginning of school. This time of year usually brings both a sense of excitement and overwhelm, I thought, so what better time to make a concerted and renewed effort in prayer to the Lord?
To give you a little background, let me tell you that I’m preetty good at maintaining a consistent quiet time. Like most of us, there are busy (or, to be honest, lazy) periods that I go through, but for the most part, my favorite way to start the day is with a cuppa, my Bible, and the sunrise – on the chair facing the window in our spare bedroom.
It wasn’t always like that. I grew up in the Catholic faith, so I was raised to kneel during prayer. When our own kids were small (really young), however, I would hold them in my lap and rock as we prayed together. As they grew, I’d sit on their beds with them for bedtime prayers. Now, even as teens and pre-teens, we all usually sit, wherever we are.
But now – from Day One – I found stuff happening that tempted me to throw in the towel. For one thing, the very first weekend of this challenge was a holiday weekend, and we “just happened” to have arranged to travel out of town, making it a bit difficult to arrange time alone in the morning. Beyond that, I had neglected to purchase a new journal yet, using this challenge as my “excuse” to do so.
But I was committed to do this prayer challenge thing as described, because, as I said, I’m already pretty good at consistency. What drew me in was the return to kneeling.
What I discovered about the posture of prayer
So I persevered, though the first few days were rough, and some I missed totally. When I was finally able to get back into gear, God blew me away. No matter how many times He does this, I still remain in awe when He does it yet again…
The very first day on my knees, I found myself feeling a bit like Hannah (1 Samuel 1:3-16). In her desperation to bear a child, Scripture tells us she poured her heart out to God, weeping bitterly. While my despair was not of the same ilk, suffice it to say that as I knelt and began to pray, I was absolutely overwhelmed with the darkness of my soul, the selfishness and sin that was within me, the utter desperation I had for my Savior. While none of that was news to me, nor should it be news to any believer, what was new was the depth and intensity that I experienced. The way I identified to the robber crucified with Jesus, who claimed, “We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve.” (Luke 23:41)
Have you ever felt that way? That despite what you know to be true, it seems unreasonable
- that God should love you as much as He does,
- that He could have a plan for you already formed from the beginning of time,
- that He would even want to use you in that plan or in His kingdom,
- that He’d go to the lengths described in Scripture to call you to Himself.
In other words, feeling an utter lack of hope.
Now Scripture does talk a bit about our posture in prayer: raising holy hands, laying prostrate in adoration, kneeling at the cross, bowing before Him… And something deep inside happened to me during that time of prayer, strengthened, I believe, by the very posture of my prayer.
It was confirmed for me as I rose and checked the verse of the day that I receive on my phone from Biblegateway each morning. It was hard for me to believe, but the phrases in bold (below) specifically describe not only the feelings but the flow in which they occurred:
Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.
While I had knelt in anticipation of God doing great things, I soon became convicted of my sin, and utter dependence on God, but rose again, strengthened and praising Him that all things worked together…for my good and His glory.
What does this have to do with you?
Well, dear friend, He is waiting ever so patiently for you, too…and by approaching the throne in humility, and on your knees, He is sure to meet you in ways that speak directly to your heart and yet beyond your wildest dreams…
I encourage you to try it yourself this month! How have you found your experiences influenced by your prayer posture?