In our age of comfort, in which most of us – present company included – sip coffee and sit in a nice comfy chair while we do our morning devotions, I’m drawn to stories about the posture of saints of old during their devotions.
I came across this story about George Washington recently from a book called Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow:
“His early biographer Jared Sparks recorded this comment from Washington’s nephew George W. Lewis: ‘Mr. Lewis said he had accidentally witnessed [Washington’s] private devotions in his library both morning and evening; that on those occasions he had seen him in a kneeling position with a Bible open before him and that he believed such to have been his daily practice.’ General Robert Porterfield recalled that when he delivered an urgent message to Washington during the Revolutionary War, he ‘found him on his knees, engaged in his morning’s devotions.’ When he mentioned this to Washington’s aide Alexander Hamilton, the latter ‘replied that such was a constant habit.’”
That caused me to do a search for the word “knee” in the Bible and here are a few of the verses I found:
And Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink, for there is a sound of the rushing of rain.” So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Mount Carmel. And he bowed himself down on the earth and put his face between his knees. (1 Kings 18:41-42)
Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the assembly of Israel and spread out his hands. Solomon had made a bronze platform five cubits long, five cubits wide, and three cubits high, and had set it in the court, and he stood on it. Then he knelt on his knees in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands toward heaven, and said, “O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you, in heaven or on earth, keeping covenant and showing steadfast love to your servants who walk before you with all their heart … (2 Chronicles 6:12-14)
Then all who trembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the faithlessness of the returned exiles, gathered around me while I sat appalled until the evening sacrifice. And at the evening sacrifice I rose from my fasting, with my garment and my cloak torn, and fell upon my knees and spread out my hands to the Lord my God, saying: “O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift my face to you, my God, for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has mounted up to the heavens. (Ezra 9:4-6)
When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously. (Daniel 6:10)
And being found in human form, he (Christ) humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:8-11)
If the name of Jesus should make those who are in heaven, on earth and under the earth, bow in reverence to the glory of God the Father, then morning devotions is a great time to do so, as well.