This broken world has many problems, but the United States of America is still a wonderful place to live compared to other countries’ freedoms, taxes, and healthcare. Unfortunately, social injustice exists everywhere, and will never be eradicated as long as Satan reigns in people’s hearts. Yet, our country has progressed from slavery to electing a black president with many blacks holding powerful administrative positions. Nevertheless, multi-millionaire athletes protest racism and inequality in a way that shows contempt for the symbols that unite all Americans. They ended up disrespecting patriotism and the veterans’ efforts to keep this country safe and free. Sports has been an avenue that unified the fans, until the privileged decided to kneel in protest when the nation’s anthem played.
Criticism of kneeling started when Tim Tebow briefly knelt to thank God; the media bashed him and called it polarizing. But they support the protestors, despite the offensiveness perceived by the fans. Among the many opinions, I like what Austin Howard (a Ravens lineman) shared. He quoted his pastor, “If I take a knee during the national anthem, it would be two knees, so that I can pray for the evil and wrong in this world.” Howard added, “mere men cannot make the changes that need to happen, only One can defeat all evil, and ease the pain this evil has caused so many.”
By making Jesus our Lord and Savior, we will be able to live forever in a future world that has no injustice, sorrow, or evil. But until then, instead of complaining and protesting, we should be actively helping those in need.
Getting on our knees, not in protest or pride, but in prayer can actually make a difference. Countless people ignore God and don’t pray, and many believers also fail to make prayer a part of their daily schedule. Perhaps they underestimate God’s love and power, or talking to the Lord doesn’t have a high enough priority in their lives. However, when one receives individualized blessings and observes answered prayers, heartfelt gratitude emerges and the desire to pray increases.
God wants us to pray to Him. He wants to hear our praise, confession, gratitude, and requests. Although His listening to our prayers is not dependent on our location or posture, kneeling helps place our thoughts and feelings in the right perspective as we speak. Kneeling in prayer represents submission and humbling oneself before God. We consciously note that He is holy and we are not. David advised us, “Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker” (Psalms 95:6).
The Bible gives detailed accounts of a leper, synagogue ruler, Canaanite woman, and father of a demon-possessed son who knelt before Jesus with their requests (that were granted). A punishable decree didn’t stop Daniel from getting down on his knees three times a day to pray. Acts 21:5 records Paul with the disciples and their families bending their knees on a beach. Even Jesus knelt in prayer to His Father in heaven (Luke 22:41). There’s a spiritual correlation between our attitude and kneeling in prayer.
What keeps us from humbling ourselves to take a knee while talking with the One who hears us and has the power to change situations? Are we too proud, lazy, or indifferent to kneel before the Lord? I love that my minister walks to the bottom of the platform steps and kneels, leading the congregation in prayer.
The Lord told Isaiah, “This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit” (Isaiah 66:2). Peter and James quoted Solomon’s proverb, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” We’re to humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand (1 Peter 5:5-6), and submit ourselves to God (James 4:6-7). How often do we pray with a humble spirit?
Jesus humbled Himself to be obedient to death on a cross, and God exalted Him so at the name of Jesus, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord (Philippians 2:8-11). Have you already done that? If you’re physically able to, kneel the next time you pray. Then notice the difference in your attitude, your words, the way you feel afterwards, and in God’s response.
(PUB. NOTE: Articles of a faith-based nature and other commentaries appear in the Review as space allows. Views expressed by guest columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of this newspaper, its owners or staff.)