There is this gangster quote you may have heard before which states, "I'd rather die on my feet than live on my knees." For those who noticed, the title of this post intentionally switches the words "feet" and "knees", more on that in a moment. This refusal-to-live-on-my-knees is the proverbial tough guy quote that people will say to show they have no fear and will not submit to anyone during their lifetime. Sure, it makes for good rap song lyrics and satisfies our rebellious spirit, but it's unfortunate that people will use this quote as a form of bravado.
More importantly, why do some view living on your knees as such a bad thing? I believe it's because there is a direct correlation between the ground and humility. Remember when God wanted to punish the serpent after Adam and Eve sinned? He made him crawl on his belly and eat dust for the rest of his life. In fact, the ultimate form of humbling is when we die, most of us will go 6 feet underground. In my opinion, kneeling on both knees is the ultimate respect we can give to an individual. We are saying; we submit all of our focus and effort right now to you. Kneeling encourages stillness and complete undistracted attention. This is why most guys will kneel when they pop the question to their lady. At that moment, he is giving reverence to her and submitting his life and dedicating all of his commitment to her.
I will tell you, some of the greatest answers to prayer in my life have resulted from praying on my knees to God. This may not be scriptural, but if you need something, and you really want God to hear you, Get On Your Knees! There is heritage in praying on your knees as well. In scripture, we see that the Prophet Daniel (6:11) "...continued his custom of going home to kneel in prayer and give thanks to his God in the upper chamber three times a day, with the windows open toward Jerusalem.” If you needed proof beyond this blog that kneeling in prayer is something to consider, examine how God answered prayer in Daniel's life.
Jacques Gauthier explains kneeling in prayer like this:
To be on our knees, near the floor, somehow nourishes this attitude of humility (humus) and interior stillness, so essential for adoration. Adoration, proskynein in Greek, calls for a posture of kneeling and prostrating oneself. To bend our knees before God is to recognize humbly that everything comes from him.
You don't have to go solo with knee-prayer either! I love kneeling in prayer with my wife. It is an incredible blessing to share a family and life with an individual who is willing to simultaneously humble herself before God as well. I remember when we started trying to have a baby 5+ years ago, it took us twelve months for Lindsay to get pregnant. During the trying period, I acted unconcerned and even told Lindsay at around the 9-month mark that I did not have to be a parent to find joy in this life or have a great marriage with her. I would like to think that's true but at the time I was too proud to humble myself before God. I still believe God wanted me on my knees. After 12 months of trying, and still no positive pregnancy stick, I finally got on my knees near my bed and asked God to give us a gift that only He could give. Within 30 days, Lindsay was pregnant with our firstborn son, Brady. We now have three boys!!! Some would say it's a coincidence, but I believe God wanted me humbled before he'd bless me with a child. I've learned now if I truly want God's attention and need him to move greatly in my life or on behalf of someone else, I get on my knees. This is not to say that God only answers prayer from people who kneel, or that kneeling guarantees answered prayer. However, in my life, I have seen God move more from my knees than my feet, but He must know I need more humbling than others. :)
In summary, the more I live this life and witness answered prayer from my knees, I have come to realize that the gangster quote has it backward. As this post title alludes, perhaps our mentality should be that a life without kneeling in prayer (complete adoration and humbleness before God) is not worth living at all.