Do You Proskuneo?

When was the last time you got down on your knees and prayed? Notice: I did not ask when was the last time you prayed, but when was the last time you got down on your knees to do it?

We live in a society that carries the attitude: “I am free, I don’t bow to anyone.” Many people shudder at the thought of diminishing oneself by such an action as bowing the knee. However, when you examine the Scriptures something very interesting is found.

The word which is translated “worship” in the New Testament is the Greek word “proskuneo.” We have often cheapened the term “worship” to mean “a time to come together and perform actions toward God.” That is not even close to what the term means. The original term, as used in the New Testament, means literally, “to kiss the hand toward one.” It carried with it the meaning of prostrating (bowing on one’s knees) oneself to another in honor, reverence, and submission. When the Bible speaks of “worship” it is speaking about the attitude and actions by which I show honor, reverence, and submission to God. Those things are not limited to the couple of hours each week where we come together and sit in pews, nor should they be confined to the walls of a building in which we gather.

Please understand, not everything we do is worship. Everything we do in life is not intended to be, nor should it be, an act of obeisance toward God. We do all things to his glory and strive to do all things according to his will, but that does not make all things worship.

That being said, we need to learn how to worship God again. Not just to sing a few songs, say a few prayers and listen to a few words; but how to truly prostrate ourselves before God. The statement of prostrating oneself toward God is not arbitrary nor metaphorical in the Scriptures. Take some time and consider the passages that speak of men (Old and New Testament) bowing down before God, bowing the knee to God, falling on their face before God, and so on. They did not simply do so in their heart, but in their physical presence before him.

Have you ever considered the way we approach God? In our society today, it is considered a shame to bow before anyone: so we sit and slightly bow our heads, some will stand and look to the sky as though to look God in the eyes, but rarely (if ever) do we bow as the servant before the master.

It has been my experience that the times when I have felt I needed God the most, I hit my knees the fastest. In times of pain at the suffering of a loved one, the loss of a child, or the agony of a sin; the only place that seemed appropriate was on my knees. So why do we not stay there? Daniel got on his knees to pray three times a day (Dan. 6:10). Why don’t we? Is it because that is not the way we’ve been taught to pray anymore; is it because we feel silly or ashamed doing so; or is it because our bodies are actually saying what our heart is feeling?

In my service to God, I am not made equal with God. I do not stand before him as an equal, I bow before him as a servant. However, do my actions match my words? Do I really consider myself a servant of God’s or is that just a title I wear. Do the actions of my body and the intentions of my heart match the statements of my mouth?

Consider one last Scripture as you think about your attitude and approach to “worshiping” God. Take the word “worship” and substitute “bow the knee,” or “prostrate.” Now read John 4:23-24: “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true prostraters will prostrate before the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to prostrate themselves before him. God is a spirit: and they that prostrate themselves before him must prostrate themselves in spirit and in truth.”

Are you truly, fully, and without reservation bowing yourself, body and spirit, and reverence and service to God? Understanding what God meant when he said this can have one of the greatest levels of impact on your relationship with God if you will seriously consider it and apply it. You will be amazed at the difference it provides.

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