7 Worship Postures Founded On The Bible We All Should Know
Worship postures, or outward expressions of our inward passion, are personal but also to be displayed communally. The article below is taken from a talk I had with some 7th and 8th graders giving them several ways to Biblically express themselves to God. The list is not all-encompassing but it is good. Most of the content was learned from listening to Derek Prince sermons about worship several years ago. His teaching is very strong and his foundation is God’s Word. While I’m sure the worship team that you are a part of understands how to be expressive before Jesus, maybe your congregation can use some of these Biblical illustrations to help encourage them to be outward expressers of their inward passion. Enjoy!
Praise & Worship
- Praise – the act of expressing approval or admiration [thanks]
- Worship – reverent honor paid to God
POSTURES OF WORSHIP
Every word that describes worship in the Bible describes a posture of the body – without exception. Let’s start with the head and we will work our way downwards.
POSTURE ONE (1) – BOWING YOUR HEAD
26 And the man bowed down his head, and worshiped the Lord.
- In the passage above, Abraham’s servant was to find Abraham’s wife Sarah.
- The servant bowed down his head to worship the Lord.
- It was a specific act in bowing down the head
31 And the people believed: and when they heard that the Lord had visited the children of Israel, and that he had looked upon their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshiped.
- They bowed their heads and worshiped.
- There is hardly any situation where you can’t bow your head. Some of the other postures aren’t as simple or easily attainable.
- At every meal bow your head. A very simple act, but it is a very significant act of reverence.
POSTURE TWO (2) – LIFT UP YOUR HANDS
Examples from a great worshiper: King David. He used his hands in multiple ways as he worshiped. Here are two of them from scripture.
4 I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.
2 May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.
I’ve heard that the lifting up of the hands is best described as surrender. It is also one of the best possible postures to use while singing. It aligns the vertebrae and forces the chest outward and upright.
POSTURE THREE (3) – SPREADING OUT YOUR HANDS
6 I stretch out my hands to you, my soul longs for you.
When you lift up your hands, you are acknowledging God’s majesty, God’s sovereignty, but when you spread out your hands you are open to receive from Him. Interestingly, sometimes it is difficult to hold our hands up for long periods of time. The Hebrew word for glory is the same word for weight. God is putting his glory in your hands.
POSTURE FOUR (4) – BOWING YOUR KNEE
Solomon’s Prayer of Dedication
12 Then he stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the assembly of Israel and spread out his hands. 13 Now Solomon had made a bronze platform, five cubits long, five cubits wide and three cubits high, and had set it in the midst of the court; and he stood on it, knelt on his knees in the presence of all the assembly of Israel and spread out his hands toward heaven.
Kneeling down – Traditional churches (especially Anglican or Catholic)
- Many churches provide a kneeling pad in front of the pew.
- Don’t let your heart despise what liturgical churches do. In some ways they are more right than what the charismatic churches do. NOBODY has all the answers.
14 For this reason I kneel before the Father.
When Paul prayed or worshiped he normally bowed his knee. Bowing the knee is an act of total submission and surrender.
23 Before me every knee shall bow; by me every tongue will swear.
Sometime in the future everyone is going to do it. God is going to insist at a certain point an acknowledgement of His total sovereignty from every living creature in the universe that has knees. That may even include grasshoppers.
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth.
Specifically to Jesus we shall bow.
POSTURE FIVE (5) – CLAP YOUR HANDS
1 Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples! Shout to God with the voice of triumph!
Worship is not some rigid posture that you sit in; it’s an activity of the whole body. Shouting to God – A lot of Christians think to shout means to sing loudly, not at all. It means to shout. Try it! It liberates us!
POSTURE SIX (6) – FALLING ON YOUR FACE BEFORE THE LORD
This is the most used description of worship we have in the Bible. The root problem of the human race is our desire to depend on ourselves rather than God. It started with Adam and Eve. It’s called the “Old Man” or the “Old Adam”. There is only one way God has set up to get rid of the “Old Man” – execution. Jesus died on the cross executing the “Old Man” and replacing us as a new creation. It means total dependence on God. “Lord, I can do nothing without you.”
John Bunyon: “He that is down need fear no fall; he that is low, no pride; He that is humble ever shall have God be his guide.”
There is only one way I can go from the floor: UP!
3 Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, 4 “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations.”
17 Abraham fell facedown; he laughed…
The Lord appeared to Abraham twice.
- FIRST: Abraham fell on his face, God talked to him.
- SECOND: Abraham fell on his face and laughed.
Abraham was pretty used to being on his face before God. I think if you checked everyone of the great people of the Bible were at one time on their face before God. It is the way to greatness.
One more posture…
POSTURE SEVEN (7) – DANCING
David has succeeded in getting the ark to Jerusalem. Lesson, nobody may touch the ark but the Levites. A lesson we can learn. David DANCED before the Lord with all his might.
David was a man of valor, very strong. You see, you’re not really liberated until your whole body is liberated.
Michal (David’s wife) chastises David. David says he will be even more undignified than this. It is very, very dangerous with your natural, carnal mind to criticize people that are enjoying the Lord. They may be inexpert. They may be highly uneducated, but God likes them. He wants to be enjoyed. Be careful. Worship Jesus!
I hope this helps bring clarity to why we use outward expressions of worship. While these are certainly not the only outward expressions, each one is Biblical founded.
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