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Article – Kneeling Before God: A Universal Act of Devotion

Throughout history, humankind has employed various gestures and postures as symbols of their reverence and subservience to the Divine. Among these gestures, kneeling stands out as prevalent in many of the world’s religions, a physical gesture that expresses submission, humility, and reverence to a higher power.

Kneeling is also a common gesture of respect in many cultures, beyond its religious context. We kneel before royalty, dignitaries, and other people who we hold in high esteem. In this way, kneeling can be seen as a way of showing our gratitude and appreciation for the gifts and blessings that we have received.

Kneeling can also be a powerful way to connect with our inner peace and to find strength and clarity. There are many different ways to kneel in prayer, but there is no right or wrong way to kneel, as long as the gesture is made from a place of genuine humility and reverence.

Christianity:
“When you kneel down to pray, remember that you are kneeling before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”
– The New Testament (1 Timothy 6:15), Christian scripture

Islam:
“O you who have believed, bow and prostrate and worship your Lord and do good – that you may succeed.”
– The Quran (22:77), Islamic scripture

Judaism:
“Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.”
– The Hebrew Bible (Psalms 95:6), Jewish scripture

Hinduism:
“When you kneel down to pray, make sure that you are kneeling before God and not before your own ego.”
– Swami Vivekananda, Hindu saint

Buddhism:
“Bowing helps to eliminate our self-centered ideas. This is not so easy. It is difficult to get rid of these ideas, and bowing is a very valuable practice. The result is not the point; it is the effort to improve ourselves that is valuable. There is no end to this practice.”
– Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Buddhist monk and teacher

Sikhism:
“Bow in humility within your heart, and you will find the Lord, right here and now.”
– Guru Granth Sahib (p. 489), Sikh scripture

See All Commonalities Across Religions