I learned an interesting sign of respect from my Korean friends. When Koreans shake the hand of a superior or elder, they support their own arm by placing the opposite hand under their elbow or forearm. It signifies deference and respect to the person you are greeting, acknowledging their weighty presence and personality. Here is an illustration.
What a lovely and practical way to show respect to another! As I reflected upon this, I wondered if there is a proper way to physically show respect to God?
There are many examples of the great saints of the Bible praying before God. Lying prostrate on the ground or on one’s knees are two common examples. Yet one that has always stood out to me was King Solomon when he dedicated the temple to God. It was a seven year undertaking and when it was completed, it was a temple like none other in the ancient world. He prayed to God by stretching out his hands and audibly praying before God.
Then Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in front of the entire congregation of Israel and spread out his hands.
2 Chronicles 6:12 (CSB)
Would God have been honored if Solomon fell on his knees and prayed to Him? The Bible does not tell us but I am quite certain Solomon’s prayers would have been received and honored by God. Why? God knew Solomon’s heart and his true intentions. The most important physical sign of respect to God is not with the position of our limbs or body, but with the position of our heart.
…Humans do not see what the LORD sees, for humans see what is visible, but the LORD sees the heart.
1 Samuel 16:7 (CSB)
For some, it is physically impossible or not practical to kneel or raise one’s arms in prayer. It is reassuring to know that from whatever position we chose to honor God with our prayers, He honors our prayers when it comes from our hearts with the purest of intentions.
Praise the Living God!
Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.